US 3853680 A
A stretchable sliver knit upholstery fabric has a jersey backing formed of two types of body yarns. Each stitch of the jersey backing includes a stretch yarn knit under high tension and an inelastic yarn. The sliver knit pile fabric is given a light latex back coating to lock the pile fibers in place and to stabilize the fabric sufficiently to permit efficient finishing treatments and handling operations without materially impairing the capacity of the fabric to be conformed to the contours of molded furniture pieces.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
States Patent [191 Daniel [4 Dec. 10, 1974 [5 PILIE FACED UPHOLSTERY FABRIC 3,440,133 4/1969 Burnett 161/89 Inventor: William C- Daniel, n, W s. 3,553,047 1/1971 Godden 161/67  Assignee: Bunker Ramo Corporation, Oak Primary Examiner-William J. Van Balen Brook, Ill. Attorney, Agent, or Firm-D. R. Bair; F. M. Arbuckle  Filed: Oct. 29, 1971  Appl. No.: 193,953
 ABSTRACT 52 us. (:1. 161/67, 161/89, 66/9 B, A stretchable sliver knit upholstery fabric has a jersey 66/19 66/194 backing formed of two types of body yarns. Each 51 rm. c1 D03d 27/00 Stitch 9f the j y backing includes a stretch y knit  Field of Sear h 66/9 B, 191, 194; 161/67 under high tension and an inelastic yarn. The sliver 1 4 knit pile fabric is given a light latex back coating to lock the pile fibers in place and to stabilize the fabric  References Ci d sufficiently to permit efficient finishing treatments and UNITED STATES PATENTS handling operations without materially impairing the 2 630 619 3/1953 Sch idt et al 161/67 capacity of the fabric to be conformed to the contours m of molded furniture pieces. 3,154,934 11/1964 Frishman ..66/194 3,250,095 5/1966 Bird ..66/l94 9 Claims, 1 Drawing Figure /r 1 1H/1 1 1 l a f 11 1 1 1 1 11 2 Hl'fil/"J H 1 W; I H 1 '1 1111mm 11 /"1 W/ 3 1 M 1l"l 1" lw fl lr W '1 5 I1 1 111 1 11 ,1 1/ m l l: 11 1 1 1l|l1l 1/,l "1v l l l min f 11 1 l A 1 :1 11 1 1:1; 1 1 1"! l I a FILE FACED UPI-IOLSTERY FABRIC BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to pile faced upholstery fabric particularly suitable for covering molded furniture pieces. More particularly, the invention is concerned with sliver knit pile fabrics that may be drawn over relatively sharp curves, that may contract after extension I the furniture during installation and hold this conformation over prolonged periods of use. On the basis of these criteria, it generally has been thought desirable to give upholstery fabrics at high degree of dimensional stability.
In spite of the inextensibility of such upholstery fabrics, it has been possible for. the most part to achieve acceptable fits on many conventional furniture pieces by tailoring operations. Conventional furniture pieces are apt to include sharp angles at various locations where upholstery fabric seams may be located without detracting from the appearance of the furniture. By seaming together a plurality of pieces of inextensible fabrics, one can obtain the desired degree of conformation between the fabric and the furniture structure even though the fabric itself has little capacity for dimensional adjustment.
Sliver knit fabrics well suited from an appearance standpoint to the requirements for upholstery work can be manufactured economically and reliably. In these fabrics, the pile is in the form of individual fibers protruding upwardly from a backing and these fibers are so arranged as to give the face of the fabric a desirable appearance.
The sliver knit fabrics manufactured heretofore for the upholstery trade have ordinarily been formed from inelastic backing yarns and have been given heavy back coating treatments to stabilize the dimensions of the fabrics. Such heavy back coatings were considered important because of the ease with which the conventional jersey knit fabrics might be distorted from their original dimensions. The heavy back coating prevented these distortions and provided assurance against the development of a baggy appearance of the covering on a piece of furniture.
Although these dimensionally stabilized fabrics serve well for some applications, they have proved unsuitable for others. For example, the conventional fabrics are unsuitable for covering many of the molded furniture pieces now being formed from foamed plastic. Such pieces typically have their entire surfaces covered by upholstery material and they are contoured in such a way that there are fewer opportunities for using seams to tailor the shape of upholstery material to that of the foamed plastic. When an attempt is made to apply the known fabric to such a contoured piece, the fabric is More easily extensible sliver knit pile fabrics have, of
course, been known for applications other than uphol stery work. However, none of these has been considered suitable in overcoming the objections noted in connection with the conventional sliver knit upholstery fabric.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of this invention is to overcome the difficulties indicated above and to provide a sliver knit pile fabric construction having a controlled amount of extensibility which permits the fabric to be conformed to furniture curvatures and having a capacity for contraction after extension so as to minimize imperfections in the fit between the furniture piece and the fabric.
The pile faced upholstery material of the present invention is fabricated on a conventional sliver knitting machine and includes pile fibers interengaged with and protruding upwardly from the body yarns of a jersey knit backing. In each stitch of the backing there are two body yarns. One of these is an ordinary inelastic yarn in the sense that it is not capable of a substantial amount of elastic elongation. The other body yarn in each stitch of the backing is a stretch yarn. A light latex back coating on the fabric gives the material sufficient dimensional stability to permit the efficient processing of the fabric.
This new material has a number of desirable characteristics. In its untensioned state the fabric is smooth and stable. The presence of both types of body yarns in each stitch of the jersey backing prevents puckering or other irregularities. The light back coating prevents curling of the fabric edges and also prevents unintended stretching of the fabric during creeling operations or during the stacking and cutting operations carried out by the upholsterer.
In placing the fabric on a piece of furniture, the fabric may be stretched around curves and the like without difficulty and it will contract after stretching to conform smoothly with the shape of the furniture piece. Extension of the fabric results in changes in the configuration of the body yarn loops of the knitted structure,
- but there is little if any actual elongation of the inelastic likely to be stretched beyond its elastic limit in bringing body yarns. As a result the amount of permitted fabric extension in any given direction will be limited to about twenty per cent or less. This extensibility pattern makes it possible to conform the fabric easily to the curvatures of the furniture piece and, at the same time, the limitation on stretch protects against gross disorientation of the fabric with respect to the furniture piece as a result of accidental force applications. The stretch yarns of the backing fabric provide the restoring forces needed for contracting the fabric after a fabric extension operation. As will be recognized, such contraction is required in order to prevent the development of a baggy loose wrinkled appearance.
A more complete understanding of these andother features and advantages of the invention will be gained from a consideration of the following detailed description of an embodiment depicted schematically in the accompanying drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING The single view of the drawing is a schematic perspective showing the various components of a pile faced upholstery material constructed in accordance with the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S) The drawing is highly schematic in the sense that it is intended not as a representation of an actual fabric but as an illustration of the general relationship of the components of that fabric. Basically the fabric includes pile fibers 2 extending upwardly from a jersey knit backing 4 having a latex back coating 6 thereon. The jersey knit backing is made up of stretch yarns 8 and ordinary inelastic yarns 10. The two yarn types 8 and 10 are run together through the knitted fabric by the technique known in the knitting arts as plating. Each yarn type appears in each stitch of the backing.
It should be understood that the loop configurations illustrated in the drawing are schematic only. In actual fact, the loops of the fabric in its relaxed state are more compact than is indicated in the drawing. Additionally, it will be understood that the pile fibers 2 actually are looped about the yarns 8 and 10 and are locked in place by these two yarns.
The basic pile fabric without the back coating 6 is fabricated on a conventional sliver knitting machine of the type disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,122,904 to R. E. Brandt. These machines are provided with one or more feed heads adjacent the periphery of a rotating needle cylinder. Pile fibers and body yarns are fed at each of the heads and the knitting needles revolve about the axis of the needle cylinder. As a knitting needle moves past a feed head, its hook portion receives pile fibers and also one each of the two body yarns 8 and 10. Each needle is then moved downwardly to draw a loop of the body yarns through a previously formed loop and to lock the pile fibers in place. This procedure is well known and need not be described in greater detail here.
The inelastic yarn 10 preferably is comparable to the yarns which have been used heretofore in the backing of sliver knit upholstery fabrics. These yarns do not have a capacity for substantial elastic elongation. Spun singles yarns formed from staple length fibers of polyester, acrylic or other material are particularly suitable and these normally are used in the practice of the invention. In general, the inelastic yarns may range in size from about 8/1 to about 18/] cotton count. An example ofa particularly preferred inelastic yarn 10 is a 14/1 cotton count yarn spun from 2-inch polyester staple fibers with about 12 turns per inch twist.
The presence of the inelastic yarn 10 in each stitch of the backing 4 serves to limit the amount of stretch to which the knitted fabric may be subjected. Knitted fabrics respond rather readily to tensioning forces by changes in loop configurations, but the amount of this response is limited to that which can occur without elongation of the inelastic yarns.
The stretch yarns 8 are employed to give the fabric a pronounced tendency to contract after it has been stretched from its relaxed state. Various types of yarns having the desired extensibility and contraction properties are well known to that art as indicated at pages 223 and 224 of Guidebook r0 Man-Made Textile Fibers and Textured Yarns of the World, 1969, Dembeck, The United Piece Dye Works of New York, N.Y. Examples of particularly suitable yarns are the false twist textured yarns formed from filaments of thermoplastic material such as nylon.
As is well known, a false twist texturing treatment includes the steps of first twisting together a plurality of filaments, heat setting the filaments in the twisted condition, and then untwisting the filaments. Such a treatment leaves the individual filaments with a tendency to assume configurations which make the relaxed length of the yarn substantially less than its tensioned length. Such a yarn may be extended or stretched readily by the application of forces tending to straighten out the individual filaments in the yarn. Upon the release of these straightening forces, the yarn contracts again to the length established by the head setting treatment.
Stretch yarns are ordinarily somewhat difficult to process in knitting operations. However, the present invention contemplates that the stretch yarns 8 may be supplied to the needles of the sliver knitting machine under high tensions. These high tensions extend the stretch yarns very substantially so that the knitting thereof proceeds in a fashion not materially different from the knitting of ordinary inelastic yarns.
It ordinarily is preferred that the stretch yarns 8 employed in the practice of the present invention be plied yarns having an even number of plies. A singles stretch yarn of the type formed by a false twist texturing process has a tendency to curl or twist when it is allowed to relax. This twisting or curling tendency has a definite directional orientation however, and when two singles yarns having tendencies to twist or curl in opposite direction are plied together, a balanced structure results. Such balanced structures are easier to handle than unbalanced ones and they ordinarily will be preferred for use in the present invention. Where it is not practical to use a plied yarn, a singles yarn can be used and can be givena degree of stability by a heat setting treatment. This treatment may be carried out in such a way as to give the desired degree of stability without destroying the stretch properties of the yarn.
Although nylon is a preferred material for use in the formation of the stretch yarns 8, other materials may be used. It is essential only that the yarn provide the necessary stretch and recovery properties. Variations in yarn sizes also are possible. For example, preferred two-ply yarns may have plies, which range in denier from 35 to or more. A particularly preferred filament textured nylon yarn is a two-ply, 7O denier l3 filament yarn which may be elongated elastically to some 300 percent of its relaxed length.
Although the stretch yarns 8 are knit under tension and in their elongated states, the yarns are free to contract somewhat as the fabric stitches are cast off the knitting instrumentalities. The degree of contraction is limited however by the presence of the inelastic yarns 10 in the backing 4 and by the fact that the pile fibers 2 are hooked about the backing yarns.
After the knitting operation, the tubular fabric from the circular knitting machine is slit longitudinally and laid out flat. Its relaxed width may be on the order of fifty inches.
Then the fabric is stretched, as on a tenter frame, and back coated. The stretching to which the fabric is subjected at this stage in processing is not severe but is sufficient to dispose the fabric in a smooth, flat condition. For example, the fifty-inch fabric from the knitting operation may be stretched laterally to about 54 inches and may be elongated about 6 percent.
The back coating material 6 applied to the fabric may be a conventional one. As shown in Schmidt et al. US.
Pat. No. 2,630,619, a suitable back coating material for setting the stitches and locking the pile fibers in place in a sliver knit fabric may be a plasticized neoprene comprising an emulsion of neoprene latex in water. The latex formulations customarily used in the back coating of sliver knit fabrics comprise thickener, potassium hydroxide and water. These and similarly conventional acrylic back coatings are well known in the art and they need not be described in detail here. It is significant to the present invention, however, to note that the back coating is not a heavy one. The weight of the back coating in accordance with the invention may range from about five one-thousandths of an ounce to about four tenths of an ounce per linear yard of 54-inch width fabric, (i.e., from about 0.0034 to about 0.267 ounces per square yard) with latex back coatings of about onetenth ounce per linear yard, (i.e., about 0.067 ounces per square yard), being particularly preferred. By way of contrast, it may be noted that the back coatings used heretofore in sliver knit upholstery fabrics have been heavier, in the range of from five-tenths to 2% ounces per linear yard, (i.e., from 0.34 to 1.5 ounces per square yard).
After the back coating treatment, the fabric face is subjected to shearing and polishing treatments. Exemplary finished products may weigh from about to about 30 ounces per linear yard of 54-inch fabric (i.e., from about 10 to ounces per square yard), with the pile 2 protruding say three-eighths inch from the backing and constituting from about 60 to about 80 percent of the total fabric weight.
The light back coating 6 locks the pile fibers in place on the backing fabric 4 and also stabilizes the backing fabric 4 against curling and against capricious stretching during creeling and other handling operations. This stabilization of the fabric is important from a practical standpoint. In the absence of such stabilization, the manufacturer of the fabric would have great difficulty in conducting the fabric finishing operations so as to provide uniformly sheared goods, and it would be virtually impossible to provide close control over the fabric yardage wound up for delivery to a particular customer. Moreover, were the fabric not stabilized by the light back coating 6, difficulties would be encountered by the upholsterer in cutting the patterns required for particular furniture pieces. The cutting operations normally are carried out on a mass production basis, utilizing dies or the like to cut through stacks of cloth. These operations are not feasible, however, if the cloth layers within a stack have been stretched to different degrees.
The stabilized, limited stretch pile faced upholstery fabric of this invention is ideally suited for use in connection with molded furniture pieces. The fabric may be stretched elastically to pull it around the curves of the furniture piece and then it may be allowed to contract to provide a smooth fit. Moreover, it is possible to work the fabric slightly in the areas of localized distortions so as to smooth out any variations in the pile and minimize visual irregularities. This latter effect is particularly important in connection with patterned goods.
Moreover, it is to be noted that these advantages are obtained without the risks and disadvantages inherent in attempts to use ordinary stretch fabrics for upholstery applications. The amount of elastic extension of the fabric of this invention will ordinarily be less than twenty per cent, being limited by the presence of the inelastic yarn 10 in each stitch of the backing, and there is little danger of objectionable displacement of the upholstery material on a furniture piece during use.
Although certain embodiments of the invention have been described in detail, various modifications of these will be readily apparent to persons of ordinary skill in the art. It is intended therefore that the foregoing description be considered as exemplary only and that the scope of the invention be ascertained from the following claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A pile faced upholstery material for molded furniture having curves about which the material must be drawn, said material comprising a sliver knit pile fabric having in each stitch both stretch. and inelastic body yarns.
2. A sliver knit pile fabric comprising a knitted base having in each stitch thereof an inelastic yarn and a stretch yarn; pile fibers engaging the yarns of said knitted base and protruding from one side of said base; and a back coating on the opposite side of said base.
3. A sliver knit pile fabric according to claim 2 wherein said stretch yarn is a textured filament nylon yarn.
4. A sliver knit pile fabric according to claim 3 wherein said stretch yarn is a plied yarn made up of an even number of plies with the individual plies having tendencies to twist in opposite directions.
5. A sliver knit pile fabric according to claim 2 wherein said inelastic yarn is a spun polyester yarn.
6. A sliver knit pile fabric according to claim 2 wherein said back coating is present in an amount such that 1 linear yard of 54-inch wide fabric has thereon from about five thousandths to about four tenths of an ounce of back coating.
7. A sliver knit pile fabric according to claim 6 wherein said back coating is a latex coating presentin the amount of about one-tenth ounce per linear yard of 54-inch wide fabric.
8. A sliver knit pile faced upholstery material for molded furniture having curves about which the material must be drawn, said material having a weight of about 10 to about 20 ounces per square yard and comprising ajersey knitted base having in each stitch thereof an inelastic yarn and a synthetic filament stretch yarn;
pile fibers engaging the yarns of said knitted base and protruding from one side of said base, said protruding pile fibers constituting from about 60 to about percent of the total weight of the fabric;
and a back coating on the opposite side of said base, said back coating having a weight of from about 0.0034 to about 0.267 ounces per square yard of fabric.
9. A sliver knit pile faced upholstery material for molded furniture having curves about which the material must be drawn, said material comprising a jersey knitted base having in each stitch thereon an inelastic yarn and a stretch yarn said inelastic yarn being spun from staple length fibers and having a size of from about 8/1 to about 18/1 cottbn count, said stretch yarn being a plied yarn made up of an even number of plies each in the form of a false twist textured yarn of thermoplastic synthetic filaments and each having a size in the range of 35 to base, said back coating having a weight of from 150 denier; about 0.0034 to about 0.267 ounces per square pile fibers engaging the yarns of said knitted base and protruding from one side of said base; and a latex back coating on the opposite side of said yard of fabric.