Patent application title: PARTIAL UNDERGARMENT AND METHOD FOR COVERING ALL OR PART OF A WOMAN'S CHEST
Betty Anne Frey (Indianapolis, IN, US)
IPC8 Class: AA41C300FI
Class name: Foundation garments breast or chest, e.g., brassieres
Publication date: 2009-04-09
Patent application number: 20090093189
Patent application title: PARTIAL UNDERGARMENT AND METHOD FOR COVERING ALL OR PART OF A WOMAN'S CHEST
Betty Anne Frey
BINGHAM MCHALE LLP
Origin: INDIANAPOLIS, IN US
IPC8 Class: AA41C300FI
A partial undergarment is described for covering a selected portion of a
woman's chest or cleavage when an outer garment is worn over a bra. The
partial undergarment includes a panel that extends between the straps of
a bra, and is movably and removably attached to the straps while the
outer garment is worn.
1. A garment, comprising:a panel of fabric having two corners and a
substantially straight edge between them; andtwo attachment features, one
being affixed to the panel proximally to each corner;wherein the
attachment features are configured to attach the panel between
predetermined points on respective straps of a brassiere being worn by a
woman; andwhen the attachment features attach the panel to the respective
straps, the garment covers a selectable portion of the chest of the
2. The garment of claim 1, wherein the two attachment features each comprise a loop of elastic and a button.
3. The garment of claim 1, wherein the panel edge consists of:the substantially straight edge, anda convex curve.
4. The garment of claim 3, wherein the convex curve is substantially a semicircle.
5. The garment of claim 1 wherein, when the attachment features attach the panel to the respective straps and the woman stands upright, the substantially straight edge is substantially horizontal.
6. The garment of claim 1, wherein each of the attachment features is a means for movably and removably attaching the panel between predetermined points on respective straps of a brassiere.
7. A method of covering a portion of a woman's chest, comprising:removably and movably attaching a first corner of a garment to a first strap of a bra being worn by a woman; andremovably and movably attaching a second corner of the garment to a second strap of the bra;wherein the garment comprises:a panel of fabric having a substantially straight edge between the first corner and the second corner; andtwo attachment features, each being attached to the panel proximally to a respective corner and being used in the attaching steps; andthe attaching steps are effective to cover a selectable portion of the woman's chest.
8. The method of claim 7, wherein the two attachment features each comprise a loop of elastic and a button.
9. The method of claim 7, wherein the panel has an edge consisting of:the substantially straight edge, anda convex curve.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein the convex curve is substantially a semicircle.
11. The method of claim 7 wherein, when the attachment features attach the panel to the respective straps and the woman stands upright, the substantially straight edge is substantially horizontal.
12. The method of claim 7, wherein each of the attachment features is a means for movably and removably attaching the panel between predetermined points on respective straps of a brassiere.
The present invention relates to a partial undergarment and method for protecting a woman's modesty when wearing loose-fitting outer garments. More specifically, the present invention relates to a partial undergarment for covering part of a female's chest when an outer garment is worn over a bra, the partial undergarment including a piece of material configured to extend between the two straps of the bra, and a plurality of fasteners respectively connected to the piece of material so that the material is moveably and removably attachable to the bra. The piece of material hangs above and between the cups of the bra, protecting the wearer from undesired or unintentional exposure.
Women throughout decades and across cultures have struggled to manage their clothing to maintain a desired degree of modesty while pursuing an active professional and/or personal lifestyle. As teachers assist students, executives collaborate across a table, and medical professionals care for patients, carefully positioned outer garments often hang down away from the woman's chest, thereby exposing her cleavage to an undesired and/or unprofessional extent.
Likewise, a woman might desire to wear a garment during a night on the town after work. If the garment reveals too much, however, she might be forced to wear a different outfit during the professional part of her day, then change into her "on the town" outfit before going out. Avoiding this inconvenience and the above-mentioned exposure is a long-felt need among women.
Still further, women who have chest scars from a mastectomy, heart surgery, or other procedure struggle to reliably manage their clothing so that the scars are consistently covered. The present garment and method address these desires and needs.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a front view of a garment according to a first embodiment.
FIG. 2 is a back view of a garment according to the first embodiment.
FIG. 3 is a front view of the garment according to the first embodiment in the first position relative to a bra.
FIG. 4 is a front view of the garment according to the first embodiment in the second position relative to a bra.
FIG. 5 is a front view of a garment according to the first embodiment in a first position attached to a bra and covered in part by an outer garment.
FIG. 6 is a front view of a garment according to the first embodiment in a second position attached to a bra and covered in part by an outer garment.
FIG. 7 is a front view of a garment according to a second embodiment.
For the purpose of promoting an understanding of the principles of the present invention, reference will now be made to the embodiment illustrated in the drawings and specific language will be used to describe the same. It will, nevertheless, be understood that no limitation of the scope of the invention is thereby intended; any alterations and further modifications of the described or illustrated embodiments, and any further applications of the principles of the invention as illustrated therein are contemplated as would normally occur to one skilled in the art to which the invention relates.
Generally, one form of the present invention a "chemisette" that a woman wears under an outer garment to control exposure of her chest and cleavage. In one embodiment, the chemisette is moveably and removably attached to the straps of the bra above each cup and lies across the woman's chest in a predetermined position. Other embodiments will be described herein and will occur to those skilled in the art in view of this disclosure.
FIG. 1 illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a garment according to the present invention. The main body of the garment 10 is panel 20, which generally is sufficient to span the width of a V-neck garment at a suitable height on the body of the wearer, as will be discussed further herein. Loops 22 provide an attachment means that secures the garment 10 to a bra, as will also be discussed below. Optional trim 24 adds character or aesthetic features to the garment.
FIG. 2 illustrates a back view of garment 10. The rear side 28 of panel 20 appears here, along with the back view of loops 22 and trim 24. Buttons 26 are stitched to the back side of panel 20, and are preferably placed far enough from the edges of panel 20 so that they do not show when the garment is worn. Further, buttons 20 are preferably selected to have a low profile so that they do not create bumps that are visible from the front side when the garment 10 is in place. Some of these buttons are shank buttons that are 1/2-inch in diameter with a flat, smooth-top surface.
The exemplary embodiment illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 may be constructed as follows. In this exemplary embodiment, these steps are primarily carried out using a sewing machine, and buttons are sewn on by hand. Alternative methods of construction will occur to those skilled in the art. (1) For size small, cut 2 four-inch lengths of 1/8 inch wide elastic. For sizes medium, large and X-large, cut 2 six-inch lengths of 1/8 inch wide elastic. (2) Use a pattern of the shape shown in FIG. 1, using the appropriate specific dimensions for each size shown just below. Place the straight edge of the pattern along a fold in the fabric. When cutting, do not cut this fold, to allow for an optimal appearance on the upper edge of the finished product as well as maximizing the overall aesthetics of the garment 10. Chemisettes are made in four sizes; small, medium, large, and extra-large. The specific cut dimensions of the body 20 of the chemisette 10, by size, are: Small: 6 inches wide by 5 inches long. Medium: 7.25 inches wide by 6 inches long. Large: 8.5 inches wide by 6.5 inches long. X-Large: 10 inches wide by 7 inches long. (3) For styles with lace trim 24, cut lengths of lace according to the length of the straight edge for each size, i.e. Small: 6 inches wide. Medium: 7.25 inches wide. Large: 8.5 inches wide. X-Large: 10 inches wide. (4) After cutting, and keeping the fabric folded with the top side of the fabric to the inside, start approximately 1.5 inches from the straight edge, sew a straight line around the curved edge of the chemisette 10, approximately 1/8-inch from the edge, and end approximately 0.75-inch from the other end of the straight-edge. Use a back-stitch at each end of the straight stitching to secure the stitch. (5) Using the larger of the two openings at the straight edge, turn the sewn fabric inside out. Insert a long object with a pointed end inside that same opening. Use the pointed end to fully extend the fabric and assure that the straight-edge of stitching around the curve is pushed out fully to maintain the appropriate shape. Press with an iron to secure the shape. Using a pair of scissors, trim the raw edges of the two openings to align those edges with the sewn curved edge and maintain the appropriate shape, in preparation for the next step. (6) For chemisettes 10 with lace or decorative trim 24, line up the lace 24 along the top, straight edge of the garment. Using a straight stitch, sew the lace or decorative trim to the front of the garment. The stitch line will typically be no more than 1/8-inch from the top edge, preferably just 1/16-inch. This may vary depending on the style or width of lace or decorative trim 24 that is used. (7) Once lace or decorative trim 24 is attached, and for chemisettes 10 with no lace or decorative trim: A. With the back 28 of the chemisette 10 facing up, fold one length of elastic in half and insert the raw edges 1/4-inch into the opening on the right end of the straight edge, with the back 28 of the garment 10 facing up. B. Using a satin stitch at the start of the opening, along the curved edge, begin to sew around the curved edge. Use a back-stitch at the edge to secure the end of the thread and prevent it from easily pulling out. C. Just after securing the elastic, place a care tag in line with the curved edge and continue the satin stitching until you near the second opening. D. Allowing 1/4-inch to insert the second piece of elastic, place the manufacturer's label along the curved edge and continue the satin stitching to the edge of that label. E. Fold the second length of elastic in half and insert the raw edges 1/4-inch into the second opening. F. Continue satin stitching to the straight edge of the top of the chemisette 10. This will secure the elastic in place. Use a back-stitch at the edge to secure the thread and prevent it from pulling out. G. The satin stitching serves the purposes of securing the elastic loops and tags, finishing the raw edges of the two openings and providing a more aesthetic appearance for the finished garment 10. (8) Press the chemisette 10 one final time before completing the final step. (9) Hand-sew one button 26 on each corner of the back 28 of the chemisette 10. Placement should be on top of the 1/4-inch of elastic that was inserted and is hidden between the front fabric 20 and back fabric 28 of the chemisette 10. Thread a hand-sewing needle, line up the two ends of the thread, and knot together. Trim off any excess thread. Attach each button 26 by going through the shank 2-3 times, to assure that the button 26 is securely in place and will withstand moderate tension of the elastic 22 when attached to the bra for each wear. The thread should only go through the back layer of fabric 28 so it is not visible on the front of the garment 10. Taking the thread through the elastic at least once will help to strengthen the attachment and make it more durable. Use caution to not pull the thread so tightly that the fabric puckers on either the front 20 or the back 28 of the garment 10.
FIG. 3 illustrates garment 10 attached to a bra 30 in a first position. To moveably and removably attach garment 10 to bra 30, one stretches elastic loop 22 around the front, outside, and back of bra strap 32, then over button 26. This attachment mechanism, especially when combined with the half-circle shape of panel 20 in this embodiment, provides a movable attachment to bra strap 32 on each of the left and right side of the wearer.
FIG. 4 illustrates garment 20 in a second position relative to bra 30. As in FIG. 3, loops 22 have been placed around bra straps 32 and over buttons 26, thereby holding panel 20 in a second, higher fixed position relative to straps 32. In this second position, panel 20 conceals scar 40.
Turning to FIG. 5, garment 10 is seen in place, attached to straps 32 of bra 30 underneath outer garment panels 50 and 52. In this illustration, panels 50 and 52 depict a typical V-neck front of scrubs or other garment. Of course, use of this embodiment with and alternative embodiments designed for use with other garments will occur to those skilled in the art based on this description.
FIG. 6 illustrates garment 10 in a second position relative to bra 30 and straps 32, and worn with an outer garment 60 having a square-cut neck 62. This embodiment illustrates that garment 10 may be worn in a position that is entirely concealed while the wearer is standing erect. Garment 10 still functions in these circumstances to conceal scars, cleavage, or other areas of the woman's chest when she bends over to assist a student or care for a patient in the educational and medical settings mentioned above, for example. Because loops 22 maintain their position on straps 32, garment 10 stays close to the wearer's body even when outer garments hang more loosely.
FIG. 7 illustrates garment 70, a second embodiment of the present invention. In this embodiment, panel 72 performs the concealing function, and loops 74 of thin elastic cord secure garment 70 to straps 32 of a bra 30 (as shown in connection with loops 22 above) by being placed around the strap 32 and attached to a button or other structure (not shown) on the back side of garment 70. Note that this embodiment includes no trim and has a different shape of panel 72 than the first embodiment had for panel 20 and trim 24.
Of course, other attachment mechanisms could be used in a way that would be sufficient to moveably and removably attach a garment 10 or 70 to a particular position on a bra strap 32. Tabs with small hook-and-loop patches on either end, snaps, ties, adhesive, clips, and countless other attachment mechanisms could be designed based on this disclosure to moveably and removably attach the garment 10 or 70 to straps 32 of bra 30 in a given position. Many other attachment mechanisms and panel designs will occur to those skilled in the art in light of this disclosure.
Garments 10 according to many embodiments of this invention are self-lined to provide a finished appearance. In these embodiments, many types of fabric content and color may be used, as well as many types, widths, and colors of lace and trim, to provide a wide variety of styles and appeal to the largest possible market. Likewise, while in the first embodiment, the shank buttons and elastic loops are used to attach garment 10 to bra 30, but any type of button could be used. In experimental use, low, flat, smooth, shank buttons, approximately 1/2-inch in diameter, have been found to work best, avoiding poking into or irritating a woman's skin as she moves about. In other embodiments, lingerie or bra rings, slides, and hooks could be used on the elastic roots to provide more flexibility in sizing and fit.
In other embodiments, garment 10 could be attached to the woman's body using body tape (for use without a bra, or with a strapless bra, for example), or hook and loop (e.g., VELCRO) strips, hook and eye (with the hook being attached to a loop of fabric that is, in turn, attached to the side edge of the garment 10), fabric snaps (with one side of the snap being attached to a loop of fabric, attached in turn to the side edge of garment 10), button and button hole (with the button hole being placed at the end of a loop of fabric sewn to the side edge of garment 10), garter clips (sewn to the edge of garment 10 so that, to close the clip, one side of the garter clip would cross in front of the bra strap 32, while the other side would cross the back side of the bra strap 32), frog closures (where the raw ends of both pieces of the frog are sewn near the straight edge of garment 10), a single length of elastic (one end of which is sewn into one opening of garment 10, and the other being sewn into the other opening; the garment could then be placed in relation to the bra by slipping the elastic over the head and placing the loop at the desired position around the chest), long elastic loops on each end of the straight edge (so that the woman can slip her arms through each loop), or safety pins could attach garment 10 to bra straps 32 or to the inside of outer garment 50/52. Likewise, other and/or additional sizes and closures could be added.
Various embodiments for garment 10 provide numerous clothing solutions for women. For example, they can be used to cover breast cleavage, when the torso outer garment 50/52 does not cover as much of the breast cleavage as desired. Chemisettes 10 are particularly convenient in providing more versatility with garments that show some cleavage. Such garments may be appropriate for most social situations, but not for professional situations such as the office, school, or church. The chemisette 10 allows a woman to have the coverage needed when wearing those types of garment to the office, but easily remove chemisette 10 when transitioning to an evening out, without the need to find a private place to remove an undergarment such as a camisole or tank top.
Similarly, garments 10 can provide coverage for female caregivers who wear scrubs to work. Scrubs are typically made with a V-neckline. When leaning forward too far to care for a patient, a typical torso garment falls away from the caregiver's chest, causing her to expose more of her chest than she might wish to expose. Here, the chemisette 10 lies flat against her chest, preventing this type of unwanted exposure. Similarly, chemisettes 10 can provide additional coverage for female teachers. When leaning forward to assist a student, a typical torso garment falls away from the chest, causing the teacher to expose more of her chest than she might wish to expose. In this situation, too, the chemisette 10 lies flat against the chest, preventing this type of unwanted exposure.
Chemisettes 10 can provide desired coverage of scars for women who have had breast, heart, or other surgeries in the chest area of the body, without the need for buying only upper-body garments with high neck lines.
Further, chemisettes 10 provide an easy solution for nursing mothers who are unable to wear camisoles and tank tops as undergarments. Camisoles and tank tops prevent the needed accessibility to the breasts for nursing. Chemisettes 10 provide the function of a camisole or tank top undergarment, with the ease of access to the breast similar to that provided by a nursing bra.
Finally, chemisettes 10 can be used to provide a fashionable layered look, without the discomfort and inconvenience of wearing two full garments in the torso. Discomfort and inconvenience commonly mentioned by customers include bulkiness, feeling padded, twisting, and bunching of the undergarment, and causing undesired warmth in warmer seasons. Various embodiments of garment 10 solve one or more of these felt needs.
All publications, prior applications, and other documents cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety as if each had been individually incorporated by reference and fully set forth. While the invention has been illustrated and described in detail in the drawings and foregoing description, the same is to be considered as illustrative and not restrictive in character, it being understood that only the preferred embodiment has been shown and described and that all changes and modifications that come within the spirit of the invention are desired to be protected.
Patent applications by Betty Anne Frey, Indianapolis, IN US
Patent applications in class BREAST OR CHEST, E.G., BRASSIERES
Patent applications in all subclasses BREAST OR CHEST, E.G., BRASSIERES