US 20040068778 A1
A user-configurable garment has a base design and a plurality of complementary attachable components for completing the base design to form several different completed designs on the garment. The base design is an anamorphic creature with background elements, and the complementary components are attachable as extremities of the anamorphic creature and objects for completing a scene with the base design. The components include both articles of clothing and non-clothing objects. A method for creating multiple designs using the garment and attachable components is provided as well.
1. A method for configuring the design of a garment, the method comprising:
providing a garment having a panel bearing a base design thereon;
providing a plurality of attachment points on the base design, each attachment point comprising one half of a hook and loop type fastener;
providing a plurality of attachment components, each having a front surface and a rear surface, the rear surface of each attachment component having a corresponding half of hook and loop type fastener, so that the attachment component is connectable to any one of the plurality of attachment points, the plurality of attachment components being selected to complement the base design on the garment panel;
selecting one of the plurality of attachment components;
connecting the selected one of the plurality of attachment components to one of the plurality of attachment points so that the selected attachment component complements the base design at the attachment point where it is connected; and
repeating the steps of selecting and connecting until the garment design is completed either by connecting all of the attachment components or occupying all of the attachment points.
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 The present invention relates generally to the field of clothing design and in particular to a new and useful garment having a changeable appearance using a base design and attachable components for completing and modifying the base design.
 Articles of clothing incorporating hook and loop fasteners, such as VELCRO, to secure a closure or retain a garment in a particular position are generally known. For example, shoes or sandals are an item of apparel where it is known to provide hook and loop fasteners on a strap for tightening the footwear after it is donned.
 Shirts, such as a hospital gown, may have an opening for donning the garment like a button down shirt, but which is closed by hook and loop fasteners. Similarly, pants may be provided which have a belt or waist opening which is tightened by securing a strap using a hook and loop type fastener.
 Another use for hook and loop type fasteners has been found in a garment sold by Too, Inc. The garment is a shirt having a solid rectangular field of loop fasteners secured to the chest of the shirt. A plurality of small square fabric pieces with corresponding hook fasteners on the rear and a letter of the alphabet on the front are provided as well. The square fabric pieces can be secured to the rectangular field to create words, messages or no pattern at all. The loop fastener field is plain and is not otherwise differentiated from the shirt it is sewn on.
 Non-clothing games and toys for creating changeable designs are generally known as well. Paper dolls in which a basic flat paper doll body has any of a plurality of corresponding component items fitted over the body to “dress” the doll in a variety of ways. Such paper dolls are often available through newspaper cartoon pages or in special children's books.
 Another toy is known that was sold under the trademark COLORFORMS. The COLORFORMS toy included a laminated cardboard sheet with a background design onto which thin plastic sheet components shaped and bearing printing in the form of characters and objects were placed. The plastic sheet component characters and objects typically resembled those from popular newspaper and television cartoons, such as Scooby-Doo or Peanuts or even the Barbie character. The plastic sheet components adhered to the laminated board by physical interactions between the plastic and laminate only, and no separate fasteners or adhesives were provided. The components were used to create a scene on the background of the laminated board.
 The COLORFORMS toy and paper dolls provide entertainment and an outlet for a child's creativity with many different possibilities.
 Garments which have fasteners for attaching objects to change the appearance of the garment are taught by U.S. Pat. No. 4,776,043 for a hat with a changeable team name. In one embodiment, the hat includes a permanent slogan portion and a hook and loop fastener for securing a changeable slogan portion.
 U.S. Pat. No. 4,975,987 discloses a method for securing an ornamental object to clothing. A loop of fabric having a hook and loop fastener is secured to a garment. The ornamental object has a corresponding hook and loop fastener to secure to the fabric loop to secure the object while obscuring the fabric loop. In one embodiment, the ornamental object is a stuffed fabric ornament which resembles an animal.
 However, garments having a background design which can be modified or completed by the addition of one or more component design pieces are not known.
 It is an object of the present invention to provide a garment having a basic design which is changeable to one of several different completed designs.
 It is a further object of the present invention to provide a garment with a design which has both fixed and variable elements.
 It is another object of the present invention to provide method for creating a changeable decorative scene on a garment.
 Accordingly, a garment, preferably a t-shirt or pants, has a decorative scene created on a panel of the garment with a plurality of attachment points for securing any of several design components. The attachment points and design components have complementary hook and loop fasteners, so that the design components can each be attached at any of the attachment points in the decorative scene of the garment. The design components are selected to complement the decorative scene, whereby a person wearing the garment can create a variety of different designs on the panel using some or all of the design components. Preferably, each attachment point has multiple design components that are complementary to the design at that attachment point.
 A method of creating a decorative garment includes providing a garment, such as a shirt or pants, having a panel. Then, a base design is created on the panel, and a plurality of attachment points are defined and a hook and loop fastener is secured to the panel over the base design at each attachment point. Several design components are created and provided which each complement a different part of the base design where an attachment point was defined. A complementary hook and loop fastener is secured to each design component so that any design component can be fastened to the panel at any of the attachment points.
 The various features of novelty which characterize the invention are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating advantages and specific objects attained by its uses, reference is made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated.
 In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a front elevation view of a garment according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of a plurality of components for attaching to the garment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 2A is a rear elevation view of some of the components of FIG. 2;
FIG. 3 is a front elevation view of one configuration of the components attached to the garment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of a second configuration of the components of FIG. 2 attached to the garment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a front elevation view of a third configuration of the components of FIG. 2 attached to the garment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is a front elevation view of a second embodiment of the garment of the invention;
FIG. 7 is a front elevation view of a second set of components for attaching to the garment of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a front elevation view illustrating one configuration of some components of FIG. 7 attached to the garment of FIG. 6;
FIG. 9 is a front elevation view of a second configuration of other components of FIG. 7 attached to the garment of FIG. 6;
FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a third embodiment of a garment of the invention;
FIG. 11 is a front elevation view of a third set of components for attaching to the garment of FIG. 10;
FIG. 12 is a front elevation view of one configuration of components of FIG. 11 attached to the garment of FIG. 10;
FIG. 13 is a front elevation view of a second configuration of components of FIG. 11 attached to the garment of FIG. 11;
FIG. 14 is a front elevation view of an alternate embodiment of the garment of FIG. 10;
FIG. 15 is a front elevation view of a configuration of the garment of FIG. 14 with components of FIG. 11 attached;
FIG. 16 is a front elevation view of yet another embodiment of a base design for a garment of the invention;
FIG. 17 is a front elevation view of a set of attachment components for the garment and based design of FIG. 16; and
FIG. 18 is a front elevation view of one configuration of the components of FIG. 17 with the garment design of FIG. 16.
 Referring now to the drawings, in which like reference numerals are used to refer to the same or similar elements, FIG. 1 shows a garment, in the form of a shirt 12, having a panel 10 with a base design 15 formed thereon. The panel 10 is preferably the front of the shirt 12, but it may be formed as the back of the shirt 12 as well. The base design 15 has a background portion 30 and a character portion 20.
 The character portion 20 is formed by a depiction of an animal or an anthropomorphic creature. As seen in FIG. 1, the character portion 20 is a snowman having stick arms 22 and facial features 24. Several attachment points 40 are provided on the character portion 20. Attachment points 40 are located on the ends of the stick arms 22, near the base of the snowman, on top of the head of the snowman, and on the upper body of the snowman character. These locations correspond generally to neck and extremity locations of the animal or anthropomorphic creature depicted by the character portion 20.
 The background portion 30 of the base design 15 includes permanent design elements such as trees 35 and snow drifts 38. The background portion 30 preferably forms a scene or backdrop for the character portion 20. Most preferably, the background portion 30 and character portion 20 are related by a common theme.
 The base design 15 may be formed on the garment panel 10 by printing, applique or other layering of additional fabric to the garment panel 10, or a combination thereof. For example, the background portion 30 may be printed, while the character portion 20 is formed by applique techniques. Mixing the form of the base design 15 parts makes the garment more interesting to touch and provides a different appearance.
 The attachment points 40 are made from a hook and loop type fastener, such as VELCRO. The attachment points 40 may be colored to blend with the base design 15, and are preferably sized to blend into the base design 15.
FIGS. 2 and 2A illustrate several attachment components 60-68 which are combined with the base design 15 on the garment panel 10 to create a configurable design. Each attachment component 60-68 has a shape and design which complements at least one part of the base design 15 on the garment panel 10.
FIG. 2A shows how the rear side of the attachment components 60, 64 have a piece of corresponding hook and loop fastener 42 for securing to any one of the attachment points 40. The other attachment pieces 60-68 each have similar fasteners 42 secured to their rear surfaces as well. The fasteners 42 are preferably sized smaller than the rear surface to which they are connected, so that the fasteners 42 are not visible when the attachment pieces 60-68 are viewed from the front.
 The attachment components 60-68 are made from a variety of materials and are not limited to plastics or fabrics, although these are preferred materials. Some of the neckwear components 68, for example, may include small simulative gemstones attached to a backing, with the fastener 42 secured to the rear surface of the backing. One or more of the gloves 66 may be made from a plastic. The attachment components 60-68 are preferably made from durable materials so that they can be removed and attached multiple times, and are washable in case they are not removed from the garment 12 prior to cleaning.
 As shown in FIG. 2, the attachment components 60-68 include some which are simulative of clothing or body parts, such as, headwear components 60, hand and glove components 66 and neckwear components 68. Other attachment components resemble non-clothing objects 64, such as a sled, gift box and bunny. Still other attachment components can be provided which are simulative of yet other types of clothing or objects that can be worn, or other non-clothing objects, as illustrated further below.
 In FIGS. 3-5, three different configurations of the attachment components 60-68 combined with the base design 15 are illustrated. As can be seen, the components 60-68 are complementary to the base design 15. The different combinations of components 60-68 are used to complete the base design 15 and provide a changeable appearance to the same garment 12.
 When multiple attachment components 60-68 of the same general type are provided, different completed designs can be easily created. As seen in FIGS. 3-5, the snowman's hat 60, gloves 66, neckwear 68 are all changed between three different styles to reconfigure the design of the garment 12 differently. The non-clothing object 64 in each configuration is different as well. Other combinations of attachment components 60-68 are also possible to create still other configurations for the design of the garment 12.
 Since the attachment components 60-68 are secured only by VELCRO or other hook and loop type fasteners 40, 42, the design of the garment 12 is easily and quickly reconfigurable.
FIG. 6 displays an embodiment of the invention wherein the garment panel 10 is part of a pair of pants 14. The panel 10 can be located on the front or rear of the pants 14, and may comprise a portion of the pant leg, or one of the pockets, or a combination thereof. The base design 15 is formed on the panel 10, as in the embodiment of FIG. 1.
 The base design 15 again includes a character portion 20 and a background design 30, which complement each other to form a scene. The base design 15 has several attachment points 40 formed by hook and loop type fasteners. In FIG. 6, the character portion 20 resembles an anthropomorphic penguin. The attachment points 40 are formed at the head, near the arms or flippers, feet and neck.
FIG. 7 shows a set of attachment components 60-68 each having an appearance that is complementary to the base design 15 of FIG. 6. Each attachment component 60-68 of FIG. 7 relates to and is complementary to at least one position where an attachment point 20 has been formed. That is, each attachment component 60-68 shares a relationship with the location of at least one of the attachments points 40, so that if an attachment component 60-68 is connected to the garment 14 at that point 40, it will rationally complete and complement the base design 15 in that area. The relationship between the component 60-68 and base design 15 where it is secured is such that a person viewing the garment panel 10 would mentally make the connection between the base design 15 and component 60-68.
 Each attachment component 60-68 has a hook and loop fastener 42 on its rear surface (not shown in FIG. 7) complementary to those at the attachment points 40, so that any attachment component 60-68 can be fastened to any attachment point 40.
 Two configurations of the attachment components of FIG. 7 and the base design of FIG. 6 are demonstrated in FIGS. 8 and 9. The configuration of FIG. 8 provides the base design 15 penguin character 20 with flippers 66 and webbed feet 62, as well as a hat 60. The base design 15 is complemented by the completion of the penguin features with the attachment components 60, 62, 66 on the panel 10.
 In FIG. 9, the character 20 of the base design 15 is given anthropomorphic features by the attachment of footwear components 62 and mitten components 66, as well as earmuff component 60. The base design 15 of this embodiment does not include an attachment point for a non-clothing or non-wearable simulative component item.
 FIGS. 10-15 illustrate how the same set of attachment components 60-68 can be used with two different base designs 15. The base designs 15 are shown by FIGS. 10 and 14.
 The set of attachment components 60-68 are complementary to both base designs, so that when the components 60-68 are attached to the garment panel 10, they complete the design. The components 60-68 displayed in FIG. 11 include headwear 60, eyewear 61, footwear 62, non-clothing objects 64 and neckwear 68. Each of these items can be used to modify the base design 15 of the cat character 20. The attachment components 60-68 provided relate more closely to the character 20, so that they complement both the base design 15 having a Christmas tree in the background portion 30 and the fishbowl background portion 30.
 FIGS. 16-18 illustrate yet another embodiment of a panel 10 of a garment bearing a base design 15 and having several attachment components 64, 67 for completing the garment design. The base design 15 of FIG. 16 has dog character 20 adjacent a scoreboard background portion 30.
 The set of complementary attachment components 64, 67 of FIG. 17 relate generally to sports items to associate with the scoreboard background portion 30. The attachment points 40 on the base design 15 are provided so that, as illustrated by the configuration of FIG. 18, it appears the dog character 20 is carrying one component 67 and has another related component 64 in front of the character 20 to complete the design.
 In the embodiment illustrated by FIGS. 16-18, as well as others shown herein, the individual attachment components 60-68 also can complement each other. For example, in FIGS. 17-18, the baseball cleats 67 and bat and ball relate to each other, as well as to the scoreboard background 30 and dog character 20.
 As can be seen from the several design embodiments illustrated by the drawings, many different characters 20 can be combined with a background 30 to form a base design 15. In turn, different ones of complementary components 60-68 can be attached to the base design 15 for the purpose of creating a variety of garment designs using the same base design 15 and garment 12, 14.
 It will be appreciated that the garment of the invention can be an upper body garment, such as a shirt 12, t-shirt, sweater, vest, etc., or a lower body garment like pants 12. The garment 12, 14 has only to have a panel for supporting the base design 15 and attachment components 60-68.
 In a preferred method of practicing the invention, a garment having a base design 15 is provided. The base design 15 consists of a character portion 20 and a background design 30. The garment includes a plurality of attachment points 40 for securing any of a set of complementary attachment components 60-68. The complementary attachment components 60-68 provided are selected to each have a relation with at least one point of the base design 15. At least some of the attachment components 60-68 are selected and removably connected to the garment at the attachment points 40 to complete the design. The garment design can then be reconfigured at any subsequent time to suit the tastes of the person wearing the garment, simply by changing the arrangement and selection of attachment components 60-68 on the garment.
 While a specific embodiment of the invention has been shown and described in detail to illustrate the application of the principles of the invention, it will be understood that the invention may be embodied otherwise without departing from such principles.