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Publication numberUS20060105673 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/987,818
Publication dateMay 18, 2006
Filing dateNov 12, 2004
Priority dateNov 12, 2004
Also published asCN2887092Y, CN201076018Y
Publication number10987818, 987818, US 2006/0105673 A1, US 2006/105673 A1, US 20060105673 A1, US 20060105673A1, US 2006105673 A1, US 2006105673A1, US-A1-20060105673, US-A1-2006105673, US2006/0105673A1, US2006/105673A1, US20060105673 A1, US20060105673A1, US2006105673 A1, US2006105673A1
InventorsBull Lau
Original AssigneeBull Lau
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Brassiere
US 20060105673 A1
Abstract
A molded bra of a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material. The layered assembly generally defines two molded breast cups a bridge intermediate of the two breast cups and a chest band from which each of the molded breast cups are disposed. The assembly includes an outward ply of a fabric material presenting a first outermost surface of the bra to the convex side of the breast cups of the bra, and an inward ply disposed to the opposite side of the assembly where the first outermost ply is presented and presenting a second outermost surface of the bra to the concave side of the breast cups of the bra. The layered assembly includes at least the inward and the outward ply at the entire perimeter about the bra regions and wherein the outward ply has been folded at the perimeter to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
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Claims(15)
1. A molded bra defined in part by a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material, said layered assembly generally defining bra regions of two molded breast cups a bridge intermediate of said two breast cups and a chest band from which each of said molded breast cups are disposed, said assembly including
a. a first of said plies (herein after “outward ply”) of a fabric material presenting a first outermost surface of said bra to the convex side of the breast cups of said bra, and
b. at least one other of said plies (herein after “inward ply”) disposed to the opposite side of said assembly where said outward ply is presented, presenting a second outermost surface of said bra to the concave side of said breast cups of said bra
wherein the layered assembly includes at least the inward and outward ply at the entire perimeter about the bra regions and wherein said outward ply has been folded at the perimeter to provide a hem thereof affixed to the inward ply.
2. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein said hem of said outward ply is adhesively affixed to said inward ply.
3. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein the hem is provided about the entire perimeter about said bra regions.
4. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein said perimeter of said bra regions generally consists of (a) a lower perimeter extending along the bottom edge of said chest band, (b) an outer perimeter extending along the upper edge of at least the regions inward of the distal ends of the chest band and transitioning to extend adjacent or along the outer perimeter edges of each of said breast cups, and (c) a neckline perimeter extending along the upper edges of each of said breast cups.
5. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein the outward ply is parallel to but not laminated with the plies of the remained of the assembly, save for at said hem.
6. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein the assembly, at each of the breast cups includes at least one ply of a foam material.
7. A molded bra as claimed in claim 6 wherein the foam material provides a flexibly rigid cup form.
8. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein the chest band, at least at regions extending inwardly from the distal ends towards said breast cups, includes no foam plies.
9. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein the chest band includes no foam plies.
10. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein said outward ply and said inward ply are coextensive with each other.
11. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein said inward ply is of a single piece of material.
12. A molded bra as claimed in claim 1 wherein said inward ply is of a single piece of fabric material.
13. A method of forming a hem at a perimeter of part of a chest band of a bra of a kind including a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material said layered assembly generally defining bra regions of two molded breast cups, a bridge intermediate of said two breast cups and a chest band from which each of said molded breast cups are disposed, said method including, locating a rigid substrate intermediate of
a. a chest band region located region of a first of said plies (herein after “outward ply”) of a fabric material presenting a first outermost surface of said bra to the convex side of the breast cups of said bra, and
b. a chest band region located region of at least one other of said plies (herein after “inward ply”) disposed to the opposite side of said assembly where said first outermost ply is presented, presenting a second outermost surface of said bra to the concave side of said breast cups of said bra,
said substrate providing part of its perimeter immediately adjacent the edge of said chest band where said hem is to be formed to define a rigid edge for the folding there over of a hem region of said outward ply to engage said outward ply to the inward ply, and removing the rigid substrate from between said inward and outward plies.
14. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein said outward ply is engaged to said inward ply by adhesion bonding at said hem region.
15. A method as claimed in claim 13 wherein said hem region of said outward ply is engaged to said inward ply by the use of an intermediate adhesive tape.
Description
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to improvements to a bra and related methods of its construction.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Bras of a kind which are made from a plurality of layers or plies of material which have been subjected to molding and trimming are known. Molded bras offer the benefit of convenient construction since the materials used, lend themselves conveniently to the introduction of a three dimensional cup shape to define the breast cups of a bra by a molding device. Such a device is normally a molding press having appropriately shaped mold portions (an upper and lower mold portion) intermediate of which a pre-form planar ply or assembly of plies of materials can be placed whereupon the molding press can then introduce the three dimensional shape into the plies.

This process avoids the time consuming steps of creating a three dimensional cup form by the more traditional method of stitching together a plurality of panels of material, each cut to an appropriate perimeter shape. Whilst speed of production is an important factor to the manufactures of such bras, aesthetics and comfort factors are also important as these will distinguish the final product from competing products, at the point of sale.

Some of the materials used in the known molded forms of bras, lend themselves to being subjected to heat (and/or adhesive) to allow for such materials to be bonded to other material of the bra. This allows for an assembly of plies of material of a bra to be laminated together. It has however been an issue in respect of bras of the molded kind, to ensure that the perimeter of the bra is capable of being defined in a robust manner. More often than not the perimeter of a bra includes stitching or overlooking to ensure that the perimeter remains in tact and is not subjected to fraying over a reasonable life span of the bra.

Stitching or overlooking can be a time consuming step in the manufacturing of a bra. It also requires accuracy in the stitch line in order for the appearance of the bra to remain attractive. Furthermore stitching can be prone to becoming undone or damaged resulting in the integrity of the perimeter of the bra being affected. The stitching itself and the material of the bra immediately adjacent to the stitching can also cause comfort issues to the wearer of a bra. Discomfort to a wearer is an undesirable result of a bra.

Accordingly it is an object of the present invention to provide a bra which addresses the abovementioned disadvantages or which will at least provide the public with a useful choice.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a method of manufacturing a bra which results in a bra which addresses the abovementioned disadvantages or which will at least provide the public with a useful choice.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly in a first aspect the present invention consists in a molded bra defined in part by a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material, said layered assembly generally defining bra regions of two molded breast cups a bridge intermediate of said two breast cups and a chest band from which each of said molded breast cups are disposed, said assembly including

a. a first of said plies (herein after “outward ply”) of a fabric material presenting a first outermost surface of said bra to the convex side of the breast cups of said bra, and

b. at least one other of said plies (herein after “inward ply”) disposed to the opposite side of said assembly where said outward ply is presented, presenting a second outermost surface of said bra to the concave side of said breast cups of said bra

wherein the layered assembly includes at least the inward and outward ply at the entire perimeter about the bra regions and wherein said outward ply has been folded at the perimeter to provide a hem thereof affixed to the inward ply.

Preferably said hem of said outward ply is adhesively affixed to said inward ply.

Preferably the hem is provided about the entire perimeter about said bra regions.

Preferably said perimeter of said bra regions generally consists of (a) a lower perimeter extending along the bottom edge of said chest band, (b) an outer perimeter extending along the upper edge of at least the regions inward of the distal ends of the chest band and transitioning to extend adjacent or along the outer perimeter edges of each of said breast cups, and (c) a neckline perimeter extending along the upper edges of each of said breast cups.

Preferably the outward ply is parallel to but not laminated with the plies of the remained of the assembly, save for at said hem.

Preferably the assembly, at each of the breast cups includes at least one ply of a foam material.

Preferably the foam material provides a flexibly rigid cup form.

Preferably the chest band, at least at regions extending inwardly from the distal ends towards said breast cups, includes no foam plies.

Preferably the chest band includes no foam plies.

Preferably said outward ply and said inward ply are coextensive with each other.

Preferably said inward ply is of a single piece of material.

Preferably said inward ply is of a single piece of fabric material.

In a further aspect the present invention consists in a method of forming a hem at a perimeter of part of a chest band of a bra of a kind including a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material said layered assembly generally defining bra regions of two molded breast cups, a bridge intermediate of said two breast cups and a chest band from which each of said molded breast cups are disposed, said method including, locating a rigid substrate intermediate of

a. a chest band region located region of a first of said plies (herein after “outward ply”) of a fabric material presenting a first outermost surface of said bra to the convex side of the breast cups of said bra, and

b. a chest band region located region of at least one other of said plies (herein after “inward ply”) disposed to the opposite side of said assembly where said first outermost ply is presented, presenting a second outermost surface of said bra to the concave side of said breast cups of said bra,

said substrate providing part of its perimeter immediately adjacent the edge of said chest band where said hem is to be formed to define a rigid edge for the folding there over of a hem region of said outward ply to engage said outward ply to the inward ply, and removing the rigid substrate from between said inward and outward plies.

Preferably said outward ply is engaged to said inward ply by adhesion bonding at said hem region.

Preferably said hem region of said outward ply is engaged to said inward ply by the use of an intermediate adhesive tape.

This invention may also be said broadly to consist in the parts, elements and features referred to or indicated in the specification of the application, individually or collectively, and any or all combinations of any two or more of said parts, elements or features, and where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth. For the purposes of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings a form which is presently preferred. It is being understood however that this invention is not limited to the precise arrangements shown.

A preferred form and methodologies of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention may be considered to consist in the foregoing and examples of which have been described with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bra of the present invention,

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a pre-form assembly of plies of material used to define the cup formed core of the bra,

FIG. 3 is a side view of a molding press intermediate of which the assembly of plies of FIG. 2 is positioned prior to such being molded by the molding press,

FIG. 4 is a plan view of an assembly of plies as for example shown in FIG. 2 wherein a molding press as per FIG. 3 has introduced two cup forms,

FIG. 5 is a sectional view through the molded assembly of plies of FIG. 2 illustrating the application of an adhesive to at least part of one side of the molded assembly of plies,

FIG. 6 is a side view of a molding press illustrating the molded assembly of plies of FIG. 5, an underwire assembly and a further layer of material prior to all such being molded by the molding press as shown in FIG. 6,

FIG. 7 is a plan view of an underwire assembly,

FIG. 8 is a sectional view through Section AA of FIG. 7,

FIG. 9 is a plan view of the molded assembly of plies shown in FIG. 6 wherein the assembly of plies of FIG. 5, the underwire assembly and the additional layer of material have been molded and laminated together by the molding press of FIG. 6,

FIG. 10 illustrates the cutting of the cup formed core assembly of materials from the excess material shown in FIG. 9,

FIG. 11 is a plan view of two mirror imaged cup formed core assemblies of components,

FIG. 12 illustrates the core assembly of components of FIG. 11 located onto a lower molding press component and supported on top of a ply of fabric material with which the core cup assembly of components of FIG. 11 are to be laminated,

FIG. 13 is a sectional view through a vertical plane of the assembly of materials of FIG. 13 after having been molded, illustrating the core cup assembly components of FIG. 11 laminated with the ply of fabric material,

FIG. 14 illustrates the introduction to the laminated assembly of FIG. 13, a layer of a heat resistant material important to be incorporated into the bra during its subsequent manufacturing steps but which is preferably later removed from the components of the bra,

FIG. 15 is a plan view of the laminated assembly of FIG. 13 and illustrating the heat resistant material shown in cross section in FIG. 14,

FIG. 16 illustrates the perimeter cutting of the assembly of laminated materials of FIG. 13 to be cut to the approximate perimeter shape of the final form of half of the bra,

FIG. 17 illustrates the excess material (in particular the ply of fabric material shown in FIG. 12 and FIG. 15) having in part been trimmed away from the assembly of plies which in part define the approximate perimeter of the bra as shown in FIG. 1,

FIG. 18 illustrates the bonding of two components of and currently as shown in FIG. 17 together to thereby define an approximate perimeter shape of the two components being bonded together by the bridging element intermediate of the components of an approximate shape of the perimeter of the bra shown in FIG. 1,

FIG. 19 illustrates a sectional view of part of the chest band of the assembly of plies of FIG. 18 illustrating the application of a catch to the distal end of the chest band,

FIG. 20 is a plan view of the assembly of plies of FIG. 18 including the application of the fastening means,

FIG. 21 is a plan view of a template used in the steps of the manufacture of the bra of the present invention and described in more detail hereinafter,

FIG. 22 illustrates the application of a tape like material to the template of FIG. 21 about the base and side perimeter regions of the perimeter shape of the bra drawn on the template and wherein no such tape is applied to the neckline region of the bra illustrated on the template of FIG. 21,

FIG. 23 illustrates a press to laminate the tape applied to the template of FIG. 21 to a ply of fabric material,

FIG. 24 illustrates the tape of FIG. 22 having been transferred to the ply of fabric material by the press of FIG. 23,

FIG. 25 illustrates the ply of fabric material having been trimmed along its lower and outer perimeter regions but not along the regions to define the neckline perimeter of the bra,

FIG. 26 illustrates a molding device or press to introduce cup forms into the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25,

FIG. 27 illustrates part of the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25 into which cup shaped relief has been introduced,

FIG. 28 illustrates the end of the chest band to be provided regions of the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25 into which apertures are provided to correspond with the fastening elements of the fasteners engaged to the end of the chest band regions of the assembly of materials of FIG. 21,

FIG. 29 illustrates the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25 and the assembly of materials of FIG. 21 prior to their being laminated together,

FIG. 30 is a sectional view through the assembly of FIG. 29,

FIG. 31 illustrates the assembly of the fabric ply of FIGS. 30 and 25 engaged with the assembly of FIG. 21 wherein the lower and outer perimeter regions of the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25 have been folded over the lower and outer perimeter regions of the assembly of FIG. 21 and the tape has been relied on for adhering these perimeter regions of the ply of fabric material of 25 to the inside of the assembly of materials of FIG. 21,

FIG. 32 illustrates the assembly of materials of FIG. 31 but wherein the outer ply of fabric material has been peeled back from the core assembly of materials to expose the core cup formed assemblies,

FIG. 33 illustrates the trimming of the excess material of the outer ply of fabric at the neckline,

FIG. 34 is a sectional view through section BB of FIG. 33,

FIG. 35 illustrates the neckline perimeter fold of the breast cup, and

FIG. 36 illustrates a back view of the bra in its final form.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference to the accompanying drawings there is shown in FIG. 1, a bra 1 which has been manufactured according to the methodology as hereinafter described. The bra generally consists of a cup region 2 incorporating two breast cups 3, 4 from which there is disposed a chest band region 5 which may include clasps 6 and between which there is disposed over the shoulder straps 7. With reference to FIG. 36 which is a view of the bra of FIG. 1 but from the opposite side, there is shown a perimeter fold over or hem 8 (hereinafter referred to as a “hem”) about substantially all of the perimeter region of the bra (save for the over the shoulder straps 7). The hem is formed by the folding of part of the exterior most ply 9 of the bra (disposed to the convex side of the breast cups and on the same side thereof to the chest band region 5). The exterior most ply 9 has been folded over the remaining ply or plies of material of the bra about substantially all of the perimeter of the bra as for example shown in FIG. 36. The hem has been created by such folding and by an adhesive or weld affixing of that part of the exterior most ply 9 to the interior side of the bra. No stitching is involved in the securing of the exterior most ply 9 to define the hem 8. As a result the breast cup and chest band region of the bra 1 can be formed without the need for stitching to be introduced to secure the various components of the bra together to define the bra as for example shown in FIG. 1. Introduction of stitching to a bra can result in the bra being expensive to manufacture (i.e. time consuming to make) and may at a later stage result in a degradation of the integrity of the bra as a result of the stitching becoming undone. Stitching can also cause discomfort to the wearer of the bra.

The fully assembled bra of the present invention is of a kind which incorporates a ply or plies of foam material within the breast cups 3, 4 but which does not include such foam materials within at least a substantial part of the chest band region 5. Preferred construction details of the bra of FIGS. 1 and 36 will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the explanation of the preferred methodology for the manufacture of the bra.

The hem 8 is preferably only of a width W sufficient to securely and permanently engage the exterior most ply 9 of the bra to the inside face of the bra. The hem may for example be between 4-12 mm in width. It preferably extends along the perimeter of the bra which may be defined as the outer perimeter line 10, the lower perimeter line 11 and the neckline perimeter 12 of the bra. Indeed the hem 8 is preferably continuous across the entire neckline 12 for both breast cups 3, 4 extending over the bridge region 14 between the adjacent breast cups 3, 4.

For further details of the assembly of preferred materials to define the bra of the present invention reference will now be made to the preferred method of its manufacture.

With reference to FIG. 2 there is shown a precursor assembly of plies of material (the precursor core assembly 15). The precursor core assembly 15 preferably consists of a foam ply 16 laminated to a fabric ply 17. Such lamination may have occurred by heat welding and/or by adhesive. The precursor core assembly is introduced into a molding press consisting of a male mold portion 18 and a female mold portion 19 as for example shown in FIG. 3. The male and female mold portions 18, 19 include complimentary shaped relief of a kind which is of a breast cup shaped form. The precursor core assembly 15 is subjected to pressure and preferably heat by the male and female mold portions 18, 19 to introduce a breast cup form into the precursor core assembly 15. The precursor core assembly 15 is placed relative to the molding press so that the fabric ply 17 is disposed to the convex side of the cup form to be molded into the precursor core assembly 15. The foam ply of the precursor core assembly is preferably of a thickness of for example 9 mm and may for example be a polyurethane or memory foam. The fabric ply 17 is preferably of a material such as nylon or spandex. The precursor core assembly 15 may include further plies of material disposed to either or both of the foam and fabric plies 16, 17. With reference to FIG. 4 there is shown the molded form of the precursor core assembly 15 into which two breast cup forms 20 have been introduced. The molding press of FIG. 3 may include two complimentary shaped surface relief features in its male and female mold portions 18, 19 to introduce into a single precursor core assembly 15 as for example shown in FIG. 4 the breast cup forms 20 are substantially of a mirror image shape. The then molded precursor core assembly 15A (whether the breast cup forms 20 are cut from the remainder of the material or before such cutting occurs) is subjected to the application of an adhesive. Such an adhesive may be spray applied via a spray nozzle 21 to apply adhesive to at least the breast cup forms 20 of the then molded precursor core assembly 15A. This adhesive is applied to the concave side of the breast cup forms. The purpose of the application of the adhesive is to allow for lamination of further components of the bra to the breast cup forms 20. With reference to FIG. 6 there is illustrated a molding press consisting of a male mold portion 22 and female mold portion 23. Laminated to the then molded precursor core assembly 15A is a further ply of material such as a second foam ply 24. This second foam ply 24 may include further plies of material pre-laminated therewith but in the preferred form is only a single ply of material. However any such additional plies of material may include a further fabric ply either to the upper or lower side of the second foam ply 24. This lamination allows the formation of a cup form which is structurally consistent in shape.

Captured between the second foam ply 24 (and any other plies that may be associated therewith) is preferably an underwire assembly 25. The underwire assembly 25 is shown in plan view in FIG. 7 and in sectional view in FIG. 8. The underwire assembly preferably consists of a sock of material 26 within which there is located a flexible but rigid elongate member 27 such as a plastic or metal wire. The underwire assembly 25 is of a curved plan shape. It is located intermediate of the second foam ply 24 and the then molded precursor core assembly 15A at a location corresponding to the breast cup form 20 being the lower region of the breast cup form where such an underwire assembly 25 would normally be provided as part of a bra. Molding of the components (as shown in FIG. 6 by the molding press) may require the application of heat over a sufficient dwell time to ensure that a lamination of the components occurs. FIG. 9 illustrates the then assembled laminated and molded components of FIG. 6.

The excess material of the then molded precursor core assembly 15A and the then molded and laminated second foam ply 24 may then be cut to be removed from the breast cup form 20 to define the assembly as shown in FIG. 11. The assembly of FIG. 11 is the breast cup core assembly 28. FIG. 11 illustrates two breast cup core assemblies 28 being a mirror image of each other each to be incorporated into other components to form a bra of the present invention. The breast cup core assembly includes a breast cup form 20 and may also include a flange 29 extending for example about the lower and outer perimeter regions of the breast cup core assembly. The breast cup core assembly includes a lower perimeter region 30, outer perimeter region 31 and neckline perimeter region 32. The core assembly may be of varying thickness.

The next step in the manufacture of the bra of the present invention is to take one or for example both breast cup core assemblies 28 and laminate to their concave side, a ply of fabric material (the interior most ply 33). With reference to FIG. 12, there can be seen part of a mold press including a perimeter frame 34 to hold the interior most ply 33 onto a male molding portion which includes male surface relief corresponding substantially to the breast cup form or forms of the breast cup core assemblies 28 placed thereon. An upper female relief molding portion of the molding press in part shown in FIG. 12 (the upper portion not being shown) can then apply heat and pressure to the breast cup core assembly or assemblies 28 to press these and laminate these with the interior most ply 33. In one form the interior most ply 33 may be molded and laminated to a breast cup core assembly 28 individually or simultaneously. The simultaneous lamination is for example demonstrated with reference to FIG. 12.

The interior most ply 33 is preferably of a material such as nylon or spandex.

A vertical cross section through the then molded assembly of the breast cup core assemblies 28 and the interior most ply 33 is for example shown in FIG. 13. The interior most ply 33 is of a size sufficient to also allow for part of the interior most ply 33 to define part of the chest band region 5 of the bra.

At this stage a wing shaped heat resistant panel (heat resistant wing panel 35) may be placed onto the interior most ply 33 and in part over the flange 29. The heat resistant wing panel 35 is preferably of a plan shape corresponding to the wing portion of the chest band region 5 of the bra. It is positioned onto the interior most ply 33 in a location where the chest band region 5 of the bra is to be provided in part by the interior most ply 33. The heat resistant wing panel is placed onto the same side of the interior most ply 33 as where the breast cup core assembly 28 is provided. The heat resistant wing panel 35 is provided to prevent any bonding of any other of the layers of the bra provided at this region to the interior most ply 33 on that side thereof where the heat resistant wing panel 35 is located.

The heat resistant wing panel 35 is made from a heat resistant material which is of a kind which may be transparent and non-elastic. It may for example be a plastic film material with some integral rigidity. It is preferably slightly sticky or adhesive on one side (that side to engage with the interior most ply 33) and not adhesive on the other side. The plastic material will not melt below a temperature of for example 180 degrees Celsius. As this temperature will not be reached during the process of manufacturing of the bra, the heat resistant material will not permanently bond with the plies of material immediately adjacent thereto. As will be explained further on, this material will be removed from the bra by hand but is provided for the purposes of allowing more convenient working of the material for the subsequent steps of the manufacturing of the bra.

The interior most ply 33 may then be trimmed by for example a scissors to cutaway excess material of the interior most ply 33 by cutting along the perimeter line of the heat resistant wing panel 35 and at least part of the perimeter of the breast cup core assembly. Such cutting is for example demonstrated in FIG. 16.

The result of such cutting may define an assembly as for example shown in FIG. 17. The assembly of FIG. 17 is to engage with a mirror image and like assembly at the bridge region 14 of the bra. However in an alternative form creating such bridging may not necessarily need to be an additional step and the interior most ply 33 may remain joined at the bridge region with a like assembly. It may be that both breast cups are laminated to an interior most ply 33 and remain engaged together rather than separating as herein described. However where separated the assembly 36 is engaged to a like assembly as for example shown in FIG. 18. Such engagement is by connecting the interior most plies 33 of each of the assemblies 36 together and/or by the provision of a bridging panel 37 to bond the two assemblies 36 together in a condition to dispose the breast cup core assemblies 28 in an appropriate location for their use subsequently as part of the bra. The bridging panel 37 may be of a flexible but non-stretch material to ensure that the breast cup core assemblies 28 cannot move outwardly from each other.

From here the next step is preferably to apply the clasps or catches or taches to the distal ends of the interior most ply 33 of the bra. Preferably the clasps 38 are adhered by an adhesive and/or heat and/or ultrasonic welding to the interior most ply 33. As can be seen with reference to FIG. 19 the clasps 38 are not affixed to the heat resistant wing panel 35. On one of the distal ends of the chest band region 5 of the interior most ply 33 the clasp is provided to the same side of the interior most ply 33 as the heat resistant wing panel 35.

The next stage in the method of manufacturing the bra of the present invention is to prepare the exterior most ply for the bra.

Whilst reference herein has been made to the interior most ply and the exterior most ply, the terms interior and exterior in this regard relate to the plies of material which are outermost on the bra. Reference to the interior most ply is not a ply located within the assembly of materials but is the ply of material which is to be adjacent most the body of the wearer. The outer most ply is the ply of material of the assembly of the bra which in a substantial part, is distal most from the body of the wearer.

Preparation of the exterior most ply 9 involves the use of a template 40. The template 40 may for example be a substrate of a paper or card like material. Drawn or depicted on the template 40 is an outline of at least the lower perimeter line 11 and outer perimeter line 10 of the final form of the bra. This is as for example shown in FIG. 21. A margin 41 may be drawn about the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11 drawn on the template 40. The margin is preferably of a width of a tape 42 to be applied to the template 40 outwardly and immediately adjacent the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11. The tape 42 is applied to the margin drawn on the template 40 to follow the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11. Such tape is not provided to a region of the template corresponding to the neckline perimeter 12 of the bra. The tape 42 preferably consists of multiple layers and indeed such multiple layers may be applied simultaneously or sequentially. Essentially the tape 42 consists of a first layer of material to be applied directly to the template. It is a heat resistant plaster 43.

This material is sticky on the side facing the template 40 so that it can adhere to the template 40. Applied over the heat resistant plaster 43 is an assembly of layers the first consisting of an adhesive coated tape and the second band of elastic material. The adhesive coated tape is provided at the assembly of this additional layer of tape away from the heat resistant plaster 43. The band of elastic material is provided to adhere to the heat resistant plaster 43. This may be by a suitable adhesive which can result in the sticking of this additional assembly of tape to the heat resistant plaster yet be able to be removed therefrom at a later stage. Glue is applied on the non-sticky side of the heat resistant material so that the elastic band can temporarily stay on the heat resistant material. One side of the adhesive coated tape is sticking on the elastic band. The whole of the template 40 (with the heat resistant plaster, the elastic band and the adhesive coated tape on top of it) is then placed on the thermal pressing machine as is shown in part in FIG. 23 (operating at around 120 degrees Celsius). The exterior most ply 9 is then placed on top of the template 40.

The tape is of a kind which is adhesive on each side. The adhesive applied on both sides of the tape will melt when heated during the process of the manufacture of this bra enabling two plies of material of the bra to be bonded together by the adhesive coated tape. The adhesive coated tape is preferably also slightly elastic and can therefore provide mild elasticity to the material that is bonded. One example of an adhesive coated tape of this kind will result in the adhesive melting slightly at around 120 degrees Celsius. However at around 150 to 160 degrees Celsius the adhesive will completely melt and provide strongest adhesion ability. Normally the adhesive coated tape is supplied from the manufacture where one side of the tape is pre-covered with a non-stick paper which is peeled away for the purpose of exposing the adhesive coated tape for subsequent heat bonding.

The elastic band with which the adhesive coated tape is engaged, is of a kind which may for example be one commonly used in garments or bras. The adhesive tape on both sides of the elastic band allows the exterior most ply to be attached to the interior most ply with the elastic band between the two plies along the perimeter of the bra. No stitching is required to affix the elastic band in the bra.

With reference to FIG. 23 there is shown a sectional view of a heating press illustrating the template 40 onto which there is provided the heat resistant plaster 43 and the assembly of plies of tape 44 consisting of the adhesive coated tape and the elastic band. The adhesive coated tape is here provided intermediate of the exterior most ply and the elastic band. Also shown is a ply of fabric material being that which defines the exterior most ply 9. The press consisting of a lower press portion 45 and an upper press portion 46 can apply pressure to the exterior most ply 9 for it to be pressed against the template 40. With the application of heat and sufficient dwell time, a bonding of the adhesive coated tape to the exterior most ply 9 will occur. The transfer is as for example shown in FIG. 24 where the exterior most ply 9 has transferred onto it the assembly 44 at locations corresponding to the outer and lower perimeter lines 10 and 11.

The exterior most ply 9 may be of a material such as nylon or spandex or lycra.

The exterior most ply 9 is thereafter trimmed about the tape portions now present (being the second adhesive coating over the elastic band and the then bonded adhesive coating between the elastic band and the fabric) to the outer and lower perimeter line disposed regions thereof. Prior to the application of the exterior most ply 9 to the other components of the bra, the exterior most ply 9 has introduced therein, molded relief provided by a molding device of a kind as for example shown in FIG. 26. The exterior most ply 9 is clamped between two plates 47-48 which includes two apertures 49 to allow the penetration through each of the apertures 49 of molding bullets 50. These molding bullets 50 penetrate through the apertures 49 to an extent as required to introduce into the exterior most ply 9 molded relief Such relief corresponds to and to allow for the exterior most ply 9 to then be engaged to the other components with the breast cup forms. The molded relief 51 is shown in a non-form defining manner in FIG. 27. The molding bullets 50 are preferably heated to a suitable temperature and in combination with a dwell time, ensure that a permanent deformation of the exterior most ply 9 occurs at the regions thereof to correspond with the breast cup forms.

At some stage the exterior most ply 9 may have introduced therewith apertures 58 at a region of the exterior most ply 9 to correspond with the distal ends of the chest band region 5. The assembly 36 and the then molded and in part trimmed exterior most ply 9A as shown in FIGS. 29 and 30 are affixed together. Such affixing is such that the exterior most ply 9A is positioned to the convex side of the assembly 36. The exterior most ply 9 is provided to the convex side of the assembly 36 with the tape 42 provided on that side of the exterior most ply facing the assembly 36. Such a relationship is for example shown in FIG. 30. The positioning of the exterior most ply 9 to the assembly 36 is such that the tape applied perimeter or perimeters of the exterior most ply 9 fall outside of the corresponding perimeter of the assembly 36. As a result the tape applied perimeter of the exterior most ply 9A can be manipulated to fold about the adjacent perimeter of the assembly 36. It is such folding and subsequent application of pressure and heat to the perimeter of the exterior most ply at where the tape 42 is applied which will result in an affixing of the assembly 36 with the exterior most ply 9A.

With reference to FIG. 31, there is shown a part of the bra of the present invention wherein the exterior most ply 9 has had its tape 42 carrying hem 8 (not shown) folded over the outer and lower perimeter lines 10 and 11 of the assembly 36. In addition to the folding a heating of the hem and application of pressure has occurred by for example an iron which activates the tape 42 (in fact the adhesive coated tape thereof) to bond the hem portion of the exterior most ply 9 to the interior most ply 33 of the assembly 36. With sufficient pressure and heat and dwell time (the heat being in the vicinity of 150 degrees Celsius) strong bonding of the hem 8 of the exterior most ply 9 will occur to the interior most ply 33 at the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11.

No bonding of the exterior most ply 9 occurs with other regions of the assembly 36 at this stage. As such the exterior most ply 9 can be peeled back from the assembly 36 as for example shown in FIG. 32. Such partial peeling away of the exterior most ply 9 at least from the core assembly proximate region of the assembly 36 will allow for an exposure of the heat resistant wing panels 35 to occur. Since the heat resistant wing panels 35 are not permanently bonded to any of the bra, such exposure will allow for the heat resistant wing panels 35 to be removed. Pulling out of the cavity defined between the exterior most ply 9 and the assembly 36 at the wing regions of the chest band region 5 will allow for the heat resistant wing panel 35 to be removed. Since the wing regions of the chest band region 5 are suitably tapered, such removal can occur quite conveniently.

Since the wing regions of the chest band 5 do not incorporate any material of significant rigidity (i.e. they preferably do not incorporate any foam material) it would be difficult to manipulate the wing panel regions of the various plies of material of the bra for the purposes of the steps of assembly of the bra. It is for this reason that the heat resistant wing panel 35 is employed during the assembly of the present invention. The heat resistant wing panel is of a material which although flexible has some structural rigidity. Such structural rigidity allows for the outer perimeter line 10 and lower perimeter line 11 at the wing regions of the bra to be and remain clearly defined. It also provides a significantly rigid edge along the part of the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11 of the bra at the wing region of the chest band region 5 for the purposes of allowing the folding of the hem 8 and the bonding of the hem 8 to the interior most ply 33. Without the heat resistant wing panel 35 being provided during the assembly of the bra it would make it very difficult to accurately define the outer and lower perimeter line at the chest band region of the bra. This is not so for the perimeter defined by the breast cups since these consist of a number of layers which create a more rigid edge for the exterior most ply to fold about. It will also make it difficult for the hem to be folded about the outer and lower perimeter line defined by the assembly 36. The assembly 36 without the heat resistant wing panel 35 would not provide an edge for the folding of the hem 8 thereabout which is sufficiently defined and rigid for such purposes of folding.

However it is undesirable for the heat resistant wing panel to remain with the bra after its assembly. As such there is a need for the wing panel to be able to be exposed for its removal. It is for this region that the neckline perimeter of the bra is also not simultaneously bonded at its hemline when the outer and lower perimeter line disposed hem 8 of the exterior most plies are affixed. A subsequent affixing of the hem 8 at the neckline of the breast cup forms allows prior to such affixing, the removal of the heat resistant wing panel.

However as mentioned earlier in the specification it is desirable that substantially the entire perimeter of the bra has a hem provided. As such, once the heat resistant wing panel has been removed it is then possible for the hem 8 at the neckline perimeter 12 of the bra to be affixed. A trimming of excess material of the exterior most ply 9 can occur to follow substantially the neckline perimeter of the assembly 36. However again a margin beyond the neckline perimeter 12A of the assembly 36 may be provided to the neckline edge 12B of the exterior most ply 9. This margin is preferably the same as the margin of the hem 8 to be provided at the neckline perimeter of the bra. A material like that of the tape 42 which is or includes the adhesive coated tape can be applied to the neckline perimeter 12B of the exterior most ply for its subsequent folding of the hem 8 of the exterior most ply 9 about the neckline perimeter 12A of the assembly 36. The application of the adhesive coated tape to the hem region 8 of the exterior most ply 9 at the neckline perimeter may also include the application of an elastic band like that incorporated in the outer and lower perimeter lines 10 and 11 of the bra.

A further reason for not applying any adhesive coated tape to the neckline perimeter of the exterior most ply prior to the exterior most ply having been molded by the bullet molder, is that the neckline perimeter would be very proximate to the regions of the exterior most ply 9 at where the surface relief is molded into the exterior most ply 9 by the bullet molder. As such the neckline perimeter of region of the exterior most ply during such molding will be subjected to heat and if an adhesive coated tape were applied at this point in time the effectiveness of the adhesive coated tape for subsequent use may be affected.

A pre-folded condition is as for example shown in FIG. 34 whereas a subsequently folded condition is shown in FIG. 35. Such folding and bonding of the hem at the neck perimeter line 12 may include the use of an iron or a device to apply heat and pressure for the purposes of activating the adhesive coating tape for the bonding of the hem 8 at this region. A further advantage that is obtained from a subsequently defined hem 8 at the neckline perimeter 12 of the bra is that any variations, deviations or inaccuracies in the location of the exterior most ply 9 to the assembly 36 can be taken into consideration at the subsequent trimming of the neckline perimeter region of the exterior most ply 9. Such subsequent trimming can ensure that a taught exterior most ply 9 is provided over the assembly 36 of the bra. Were the neckline perimeter 12 of the exterior most ply 9 trimmed at the stage where the exterior most ply 9 has its outer perimeter line 10 and lower perimeter line 11 trimmed (see FIG. 25) any manufacturing deviations may then not have been able to be taken into account. However once the substantial part of the hem 8 has been formed at the outer and lower perimeter lines 10, 11 any such variations can be accounted for at the trimming stage of the exterior most ply 9 to define its neckline perimeter 12B.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7758401Dec 6, 2006Jul 20, 2010Hbi Branded Apparel Enterprises, LlcUpper support garment having an improved back
US7887389Dec 14, 2007Feb 15, 2011A & F Trademark, Inc.Support pad for an undergarment
US8038506 *Dec 4, 2008Oct 18, 2011Warnaco U.S., Inc.Brassiere with improved side panel construction
US8556677Apr 29, 2011Oct 15, 2013Warnaco U.S., Inc.Flexing brassiere
EP1872674A1 *Jun 28, 2007Jan 2, 2008Regina Miracle International LimitedBrassiere
EP2087799A2 *Feb 16, 2007Aug 12, 2009Regina Miracle International Enterprises LimitedImprovements to brassieres
EP2087800A1 *Feb 16, 2007Aug 12, 2009Regina Miracle International Enterprises LimitedImprovements to brassieres
Classifications
U.S. Classification450/39
International ClassificationA41C3/00
Cooperative ClassificationA41C5/005, A41C3/0014
European ClassificationA41C3/00C, A41C5/00B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 18, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: REGINA MIRACLE INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, HONG KONG
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LAU, BULL;REEL/FRAME:016287/0666
Effective date: 20050203