US 3295529 A
Abstract available in
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Jan. 3, 1967 J. s. CQRRIGALL ETAL 9 STRAP MATERIAL FOR GARMENTS Filed July 10, 1964 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTORS. JAMES STEPHEN CORRIGALL, RAYMOND R. WATERMAN 8 KENNETH M. DEAL their ATTORNEYS Jan. 3, 1967 .1. s. CORRIGALL ETAL 3,295,529
STRAP MATERIAL FOR GARMENTS 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 10, 1964 240m 20mm L .L s m A W. 0% N TRN R m m a, a C T N E T I T ,4 NAF- EWD f. m a RM m T NTZ 80E E N MY AE JRK 3,295,529 STRAP MATERIAL FOR GARMENTS James Stephen Corrigall, Greenwich, Raymond R. Waterman, Easton, and Kenneth M. Deal,.Norwalk, Conn.,
assignors to R. T. Vanderbilt Company, Inc., New
York, N.Y., a corporation of New York Filed July 10, 1964, Ser. No. 381,630 12 Claims. (Cl. 128-510) This invention relates to strap material for wearing apparel and, more particularly, to novel and improved extensible strap material for use as straps in support garments or the like, such as brassieres, sanitary belts, and athletic supporters, for elastic support bandages, as a stretchable element of these and other garments, and
\ United States Patent as straps for other garments such as bathing suits and slips.
In wearing apparel of various sorts, such as those men tioned above, hands or straps are used to provide support for body parts, or for a part of the garment holding, shaping or protecting a body part. straps are non-extensible or only moderately extensible and are therefore often uncomfortable to wear. Nonextensible garment bands: or straps are usually made of one or more fabric plies stitched together along the longitudinal edges or folded over at the edges and stitched to form non-fraying, neat edges. Often, the strap carries the load imposed upon it by the bodypart along only strips or lines which constitute only a small proportion of the strap width, inasmuch as'the body contours which it traverses, which often include relatively unyieldable parts such as bones, taut muscles or tendons, do not enable the strap to firmly contact and bear against the body evenly or uniformly.
Some parts of the garments in question have long been made of extensible material, and more recently, extensible brassiere straps have been introduced. Extensible garment bands, straps and other parts have the advantage of facilitating body movement, as compared to non-extensible garment elements. Moreover, they conform a little more closely to the contours of the body. Nevertheless, there are still pressure points, particularly at relatively sharply defined, hard projections. For example, brassiere straps are subject to pressure points at the trapezius muscle in the shoulder and at the collar bone, where stretching holds the extensible material, which is relatively stiff both longitudinally and laterally, taut againstthese body parts and bridges across other portions of the body along its length. Also, many types of extensible straps tend to curl and twist, thus further contributing to the uneven distribution of load.
These and other disadvantages of presently known garment straps are overcome, in accordance with the invention, by providing strap material for support garments or the like comprising a thin strip of soft flexible foam and an extensible load-carrying web on the outer surface of the foam strip, and a liner on the inner surface of the foam, the web and liner being laminated to the foam. The strap material of the invention is soft and compressible and provides a greatly improved distribution of the load carried by the element of a garment for which it is used. Any discontinuities in the body surfaces which elements made of the strap material contact and bear against compress the foam and enable a considerably greater area of the strap to be brought into load-bearing contact; in other In some instances, the
words, pressure points are substantially eliminated and a suitable smooth extensible fabric or flocking is preferred so as to provide a smooth, soft feel and resulting irnproved comfort, as compared to the rough harsh feel of many fabrics presently used in stretch-type strap material. The comfort provided by the strap material is further enhanced by its flexibility which enables it to readily conform to body contours; yet it has sufiicient bulk and stiffness to resist curling and twisting. In use it cups very slightly so that the wearers skin and flesh are gradually depressed, the edges of the strap material lying contiguous to or above the normal body contour and the center portion pressing into the body to a degree governed by the tightness required for the particular garment. The load on the strap material is thus substantially uniform transversely, there being no digging in of the edges of the strap material.
In addition to improving the comfort of the garment by distributing loads over a larger area of the element for which the strap material is used, the greater area provides more frictional engagement between the body and the element so that the element is firmly held in-place. This property can best be described as clinging ability. The clinging ability of some straps now used in garments, such as brassieres, may be comparable to that of the strap material of the invention, but it is obtained by providing a relatively rough-surfaced fabric which is harsher and less comfortable. In the strap material according to the invention, a relatively smooth soft fabric can be used, and the strap material will cling equally as well as harsher fabric inknown strap material because of a larger contact area with the body.
In a preferred embodiment of the strap material, the edgesof the outer webs are joined together by heat forming. Accordingly, no stitching is required, thus reducing the cost of manufacture. Moreover, such edges do not restrict the stretching of the straps as stitching usually does and are not subject to breaking as are the threads of stitching when extended too far. Heat formed edges are also less rough or harsh and therefore more comfortable to wear.
For a better understanding of the invention, reference I may be had to the following description of exemplary embodiments, taken in conjunction with the figures of the appended drawings; in which:
FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of a segment of one embodiment of the strap material;
FIG. 2 is a pictorial view, of a brassiere having several elements fabricated from the strap material of the invention;
FIG. 3 is a schematic drawing of a method of making another embodiment of the strap material; and
FIG. 4 is a pictorial view of a segment of another embodiment of the strap material.
Referring now to FIG. 1, the strap material of the invention comprises a thin strip 10 of flexible foam material, such as latex foam, polyurethane foam, or polyvinyl chloride foam. The foam strip 10 should be relatively soft, that is, have a high compressibility. Preferably, the proportion of the thickness of the foam when a 4 02. load is evenly distributed over a 1 in. square piece in. thick to the uncompressed thickness should be from about 15% to about 50%. If the foam is less compressible, it will not readily conform to the body contours or effectively distribute the load on the strap material. If it is too soft, that is more compressible, it will be completely collapsed by relatively small loads, will in effect become a non-compressible member when in place on the wearer and, accordingly, will not provide very much improvement in the distribution of loads.
Patented Jan. 3, 1967 loads imposed upon it without being fully compressed and should be susceptible of being compressed somewhat further by larger concentrations of loads at projecting parts of the wearers body. In order to provide good uniformity of compressibilityacross the area of the strap material, the foam should be relatively fine-celled.
It is desirable that the foam bevapor permeable or breathable to permit moisture and air to pass through it, thus making it cool and comfortable to wear. For the same reason, foams which have a non-permeable film or skin on their surfaces are generally to be avoided.
On the surfaces of the foam strip are strips 12 and 14 of extensible fabric. Preferably, the fabric strips should be inherently extensible, rather than made with encased rubber threads or the like, such threads tending.
to produce undesirable, spaced-apart lines of pressure and usually providing a rough, harsh surface. For example,
warp-knitted fabrics such as tricot fabrics have been found to be well-suited for the strap material, inasmuch as they combine the desired low modulus of elasticity with a relatively smooth and soft surface. The fabric may be of natural or synthetic material, such as cotton, rayon or nylon. strip 12 of the strap material, cotton is to be preferred for its softness, while for the outer fabric strip 14 a durable and more resilient material such as nylon is desirable.
It is preferable that the fabric strips be adhered to the I foam stripso that the extensibility of the strap material will be a combined cooperative result of the separate extensibility of the fabric strips 12 and 14 and the foam strip 10. The fabric strips can be adhered to the foam For the inner, body-contacting fabric strip by a suitable adhesive, where necessary, or by form 7 ing the foam strip 10 in situ between the fabric strips 12 1 and 14 and creating, thereby a mechanical bond between the fabric and the foam. Further, by adhering the fabric to the foam, the possibility is avoided of the foam 'contracting lengthwise relative to the fabric strips when the strap material is stretched, thereby reducing the overall extensibility of the strap material and preventing it from fully returning to its original length when relaxed.
To obtain the full benefit of the load-spreading ability of the foam in the strap material, it is important that the fabric strip in contact with the wearers body not have an extensibility greater than that of the outer strip. The outer strip thus carries a greater part of the load and distributes that load over a greater area of the strap material by acting through the resilient foam layer. Ideally, the inner fabric strip should carry only a nominal'load or no load at all.
The lengthwise edges of the strap material should be joined together in such a way as to not substantially inhibit the extensibility of the the strap material. One way of so joining the edges is by an extensible stitch, such as the zig-zag stitches 16 and 18 shown in the embodiment of FIG. 1. To make the strap material, foam and fabric strips of equal widths may be adhered together to form a laminate, and the edges of the laminate then stitched together, the stitching serving not only to join the fabric strips but also to compress the edge portions of the foam to form tapered or smoothly rounded edges.
Referring next to FIG. 2 of the drawings, one important use of the strap material is in various parts of a brassiere. The brassiere includes front panels 20 and 22 joined at the center and having spaced-apart breast cups 24 and 26 and back panels 28 and 30 joined, respectively, to the front panels 20 and 22. Preferably, the panels are made of a moderately elastic material. A lower, body-encircling band 32 of the strap mate i l f h invention is joined to the lower edges of the front panels 20 and 22 and back panels 28 and 30 by a suitable type of stitch such as the extensible zig-zag stitch 34 illustrated in FIG. 2. The extensible stitch 34 enables joint stretching of the band 32 and the panels, thereby permitting freer breathing and expansion of the wearers rib cage during body movement. The strap material used for the band 32, being soft and compressible, allows the band 1 to conform closely to the body contours and to distribute 1 the load over a larger area of the rib cage of the wearer.
Strips 36 and 38 of the strap material, according to the 1 invention, are provided along the tops of the breast cups 1 greater distribution of the load by conforming more:
closely to the contours of the body.
The brassiere further comprises a back catch or hook arrangement which includes a band 52 connected to the back panel 30 and spaced-apart hooks 54 near the outer end and a band 56 connected to the end of the other back panel 28 and having two or more pairs of eyelets 58 i for receiving the hooks 54. One or both of the bands 52 and 56 may be made from the strap material of the invention, preferably, at least the band 56 which lies adjacent to the wearers body. The softness and compressibility of the strap material greatly improve the comfort of the brassiere in the area of the catch by clistributing the forces on the hooks.
Preferred foams for the strap material and methods of making the foams are disclosed in copending applica- -tions assigned to the assignee of the present invention and application. More particularly, application Ser.No.
242,653 of Waterman et al., filed Dec. 6, 1962, discloses a method of foaming a polyvinyl chloride plastisol composition incorporating a novel alkali metal soap frothing agent by mechanical incorporation of air and the foams so produced. Application Ser. No. 273,288 of Waterman et al., filed Apr. 16, 1963 discloses a novel frothing agent containing an amine soap-alkali metal soap blendand a method of mechanical foaming of polyvinyl chloride. plastisol formulations in the presence of said frothing agent.
The foams disclosed in the aforementioned applications have unexpectedly been found to be highly stable and to 1 be susceptible to being applied to a vapor permeable web 1 without any significant collapsing of the air cell structure 1 of the foam. Accordingly, they can be deposited on a web of gas permeable fabric and gelled and fused without forming the tough, impermeable skins, which are characteristic of blown polyvinyl chloride foams or other flexible foams formed in a similar manner.. Moreover, the 1 foam is sufficiently stable to permit a relatively heavy, gas permeable fabric web to be deposited on top of a layer of the air frothed film without strike-through or. soaking up any of the liquid foam and without collapsing 1 the foam. Nevertheless, the foam impregnates a fabric web sufficiently to form a very good mechanical adhesion 1 between the foam and the fabric. The term air-frothed polyvinyl chloride foam. is used herein to designate foams disclosed in the above-mentioned applications and 1 foams produced by the methods disclosed in those appli cations.
Referring to FIG. 3, a fabric web 70 is fed from a supply roll 72 onto a supporting surface, such as a conveyor 74 of the type having a fixed supporting bed 76. An air-frothed polyvinyl chloride liquid foam from a supply 77 is then deposited at a predetermined rate onto the upper surface of the fabric web 70. A foam layer 78 of predetermined thickness is formed by suitable means, such as a doctor roll or a doctor. blade 80. An upper fabric web 82 taken from a supply roll 84 is laid in on top of the liquid foam layer 7 8. While in the illustrated method the upper web 82 is placed on the foam layer 78' downstream of the doctor blade 80, it might also be passed beneath the blade, or preferably, beneath'a doctor roll. The laminate 85 of the fabric webs 70 and 82 and the foam layer 78 is then carried along the conveyor 74 by drawing the webs at equal speeds, in order to avoid relative sliding which could disrupt the foam cell structure. The upper web 82 is freely supported on the foam layer 78,.the foam having sufficient body to carry the fabric without significant strike-through. The weight of fabric is usually suflicient to embed threads and fibers of the fabric in the foam, although slight pressure can be applied when the upper fabric web 82 is laid in to ensure adequate embedment, and therefore enable a good mechanical bond between the fabrics and the foam to be obtained upon fusion and cooling of the foam.
' From the conveyor 74, the fabric webs 70 and 82 with the in situ deposited, foamed plastisol layer 78 therebetween are conveyed to a suitable heating device 86in which the foam is heated to gel and fuse it. With some types of fabrics, it may be necessary to restrain the fabric from shrinking under the temperatures needed for fusion. Shrinking in the longitudinal direction can be controlled by adjusting the longitudinal tension on the webs. Lateral restraint may be'accomplished by suitable movable single layer tenters 87 and 87. The length of the heating device 86 and the rate of movement of the laminate 85 through it'are, of course, determined by the time required to accomplish complete fusion of the foam.
After the laminate 85 leaves the heating device 86, it is cooled, for example, by blowing air on it, and then beat formed between forming rolls 88 and88' along spaced-apart narrow parallel bands. It is preferable that any heatforming of the laminate be carried out at a temperature substantially below the fusion temperature of the foam in order to avoid damage to the cell structure in areas outside the heat-formed portions, for as the heat-formed portions are pressed together, the tendency is for portions adjacent the heart formed portions to be collapsed'due to a drawing of the fabric. If excessive heat is utilized in heat forming, it may damage the cell structure'fin other portions of the foam. Generally, it is preferable to stay at least 25 F. to 50 F. below the fusion temperature of the foam in any heat-forming operations.
In the spaced-apart narrow parallel bands the fabric strips are squeezed together, and substantially all foam cell structure in the bands is completely collapsed. The result is a dense, film-like ply between the fabric plies, the fabric being mechanically adhered to the film-like ply by embedment of threads and fibers of the fabric therein. The sheet is then severed, such as by rotary cutting blades 89 cooperating with a back-up roll 90, to form a plurality of self-sustaining strips and the strips rolled onto a roll 91.
FIG. 4 illustrates an end view of such a strip of strap material. The strip'comprises a pair of spaced-apart webs 92 and 93 of the elastic fabric which are mechanically adhered by embedment of the fabric threads and fibers of the threads to an air frothed polyvinyl chloride foam layer 94. At the lateral edges 96 and 98 of the strip, the
' foam layer 94 has been heat-formed under pressure and the cells collapsed so that narrow edge bands consisting of the outer fabric layers and a film-like, relatively dense polyvinyl chloride layer remain. Directly adjacent the edges 96 and 98, the cell structure has not been fully destroyed but has been compressed to a gradually lesser degree until the full thickness of the original sheet material rremains. Accordingly, this embodiment of the strap material has longitudinally extending, bonded edges and is self-sustaining and suitable for use without stitching or other treatments to connect the fabric edges.
There is thus provided, in accordance with the invention, strap material which is fully breathable or vapor permeable; that is, there is no gas impermeable layer or film at any point across the thickness (except at the edges) and therefore the strap material is cool to wear. Moreover, the outer webs are attached to the foam, preferably by embedment of yarns or fibers of the webs in the foam. The problems of different extensibilities of the foam and the webs are thus avoided. Fabric-foam laminates utilizing air-frothed polyvinyl chloride foam and extensible webs have excellent elastic properties, and no breaking away of the webs from the foam after repeated stretching has been observed.
While the above-described specific embodiments of the strap material utilize extensible fabric strips on both of the foam surfaces, other materials can be used without impairing any of the important properties, load-spreading, extensibility and breathability. For example, the inner, body contacting liner may be flocking or similar material. The outer load-carrying web may be an extensible plastic film, preferably a porous or breathable polyvinyl chloride film.
It will be understood that the above-described embodiments of the invention are merely exemplary, and those skilled in the art can readily modify and vary them without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Such variations and modifications are intended to be included Within the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
I. Strap material for support garments or the like, comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, an extensible load-carrying Web attached to one surface of said foam strip, and an extensible liner attached to the opposite surface of said foam strip, said web having an extensibility less than that of said liner at an equal predetermined load thereon.
2. A strap material for support garments or the like, characterized by the properties of full breathability and a soft compressible hand, cornprisin a pair of strips of extensible fabric, said strips being closely spaced at their edges and spaced-apart in the remainder of their area, a layer of air-frothed polyvinyl chloride foam between said strips in the spaced-apart portions thereof, and a layer of polyvinyl chloride in the form of a film-like dense structure formed by the collapse of foam cells between the closely spaced portions of said strips, said strips connected to the polyvinyl chloride foam and the film structure by embedment of the yarns and yarn fibers of the fabric strips therein.
3. A support garment comprising a body supporting element and a strap material connected to said element, said strap material including a thin strip of soft resilient foam and a strip of breathable, extensible fabric connected to each opposite surface of said foam strip, the fabric strips being joined together along their longitudinal edges solely by said foam strip, said foam strip being compressed in said joined together portions of said fabric strip and the fabric strip being joined thereto by heat sealing.
4. A brassiere comprising a pair of front panels joined together at one end, a back panel joined to the other end of each of said front panels, a breast cup in each of said front panels, a shoulder strap of strap material connecting each of said breast cups to a respective back panel and defining an arm opening, and a band of strap material extending across the top of said breast cups, said strap material including a thin strip of soft resilient foam and a strip of extensible fabric connected to each surface of said foam strip.
5. A strap material for support garment-s or the like characterized by the properties of full breathability and soft compressible hand comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, an extensible breathable web on one surface of the foam strip and a smooth extensible breathable liner on the opposite surface of said foam strip, the web and liner being connected to the foam strip solely by mechanical embedment of elements of the web and liner in the foam as provided by in situ deposition and fusion of the foam between the web and liner.
6. A strap material as set forth in claim wherein said Web and liner are joined together adjacent their edges solely by said foam strip, said foam strip being compressed and the web and liner being joined thereto in said joined together portions thereof by heat sealing.
7. A strap material as set forth in claim 5 wherein said fabric has an extensibility less than that of the liner at an equal predetermined load thereon.
8. A strap material for support garments or the like characterized by the properties of full breathability and a soft compressible hand comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, a strip of breathable extensible fabric on one surface of said foam strip, and a smooth breathable extensible liner on the opposite surface of said foam strip,
. the longitudinal edges of said fabric and linerbeing joined together solely by said foam strip, said foam strip being compressed and the fabric and liner being joined thereto in said joined together portions by heat sealing.
9. A strap material as set forth in claim 8 wherein said fabric and liner are connected to the foam strip by mechanical embedment of the elements thereof in the foam asprovided by in situ deposition and fusion of the foam between said fabric and liner.
10. A brassiere comprising a pair of front panels joine together at one end, a back panel joined to the other end of each of said front panels, a breast cup in each of said front panels, and a shoulder strap of strap material connecting each of said breast cups to a respective back panel and defining an arm opening, said shoulder straps comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, an extensible breathable web on one surface of the foam strip, and a smooth extensible breathable liner on the opposite surface of said foam strip, the web and liner being adhered to the foam by mechanical embedment of elements of the web and liner in the foam as provided by in situ deposition and fusion of the foam between said web and liner.
11. A brassiere comprising a pair of front panels joined together at one end, a back panel joined to the other end of each of said front panels and a body encircling band connected to the lower edges of said front and back panels, said band comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, an extensible breathable web on one surface of the foam strip and a smooth breathable extensible liner on the opposite surface of said foam strip, said web and liner being adhered to said foam strip'by mechanical embedment'of elements thereof in the foam as provided by in situ deposition and fusion of the foam between said web and liner.
12. A brassiere as set forth in claim' ll'further comprising a member attached to the outer end of each of said back panels and having means thereon for selectively connecting said back panels together, one of said members comprising a thin strip of soft resilient foam, an extensible breathable web on one surface of the foam strip and a smooth extensible breathable liner on the opposite surface of said foam strip, said web and liner being connected to the foam strip by mechanical embedment of elements thereof in the foam as provided by in situ deposition and fusion 'of the foam between said web and liner.
References Cited by the Examiner,
UNITED STATES PATENTS Hardie 2338 Kurland 12s -51o ADELE M. EAGER, Primary Examiner.
Wintermute et a1. 156-'--79 Rosenberg 128-510 Markham 128-510