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Número de publicaciónUS20060281389 A1
Tipo de publicaciónSolicitud
Número de solicitudUS 11/479,571
Fecha de publicación14 Dic 2006
Fecha de presentación30 Jun 2006
Fecha de prioridad12 Nov 2004
Número de publicación11479571, 479571, US 2006/0281389 A1, US 2006/281389 A1, US 20060281389 A1, US 20060281389A1, US 2006281389 A1, US 2006281389A1, US-A1-20060281389, US-A1-2006281389, US2006/0281389A1, US2006/281389A1, US20060281389 A1, US20060281389A1, US2006281389 A1, US2006281389A1
InventoresZhen Qiang Liu
Cesionario originalZhen Qiang Liu
Exportar citaBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet
Brassiere
US 20060281389 A1
Resumen
There is provided a molded bra of a layered assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible 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 at least a portion of the perimeter to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
Imágenes(25)
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Reclamaciones(32)
1. A bra comprising an assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible material, the assembly having a perimeter and generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, the assembly comprising an outward ply of material that is disposed to the convex side of the breast cups, and an inward ply of material that is disposed to the concave side of the breast cups, wherein the outward ply of material is folded at at least a portion of the perimeter of the assembly to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
2. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outward ply of material includes a fabric material.
3. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the hem is adhesively affixed to the inward ply.
4. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the perimeter of the assembly comprises (a) a lower edge extending along the bottom edge of the chest bands, (b) for each breast cup, an outer edge extending between the point on the breast cup where a shoulder strap is or may be joined and the chest band that is disposed from the breast cup, and (c) for each breast cup, a neckline extending between the point on the breast cup where a shoulder strap is or may be joined and the bridge.
5. A bra as claimed in claim 4, wherein the outward ply is folded to provide a hem at the lower edge and the outer edge.
6. A bra as claimed in claim 5, wherein at the neckline the outward ply is ultrasonically sealed with the inward ply.
7. A bra as claimed in claim 4, wherein the outward ply is folded to provide a hem at the neckline and the outer edge.
8. A bra as claimed in claim 7, wherein at the lower edge the outward ply is ultrasonically sealed with the inward ply.
9. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outward ply is, except at the hem, parallel and not affixed to other plies of the assembly.
10. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the outward ply is parallel to and not laminated with other plies of the assembly at the hem.
11. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the assembly at each of the breast cups includes at least one ply of a foam material.
12. A bra as claimed in claim 11, wherein the foam material provides a flexibly rigid cup form.
13. A bra as claimed in claim 1, the bra further comprising one or more fasteners fixed to the distal end of one or each of the chest bands, a base portion of each of the one or more fasteners being fixed to said distal end of one or each of the chest bands, wherein a portion of the outward ply is folded over at said distal end of one or each of the chest bands to capture said base portion between the outward ply and the folded portion of the outward ply, and wherein the folded portion of the outward ply has a perimeter and is fixed to the outward ply at at least a portion of the perimeter of said folded portion of the outward ply.
14. A bra according to claim 13, wherein the base portion of each of the one or more fasteners is laminated with the outward ply.
15. A bra as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bra further comprises one or more fasteners fixed to the distal end of one or each of the chest bands, each of said fasteners having a base portion fixed to a flexible panel, said flexible panel being affixed to one or each of the outward ply and the inward ply of material, wherein one or each of the outward ply and the inward ply of material has one or more apertures at the chest band distal end to allow said fasteners to protrude through said apertures to the exterior.
16. A method of forming a molded bra of a kind including an assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material, the assembly generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, the method comprising:
a. laminating onto a ply of fabric material to define the interior most ply of the bra (hereinafter “inward most ply”), molded breast cups defined by at least one ply of a foam material, to define an interior assembly;
b. temporarily affixing a rigid substrate template onto the inward most ply, at the regions of the interior most ply where the chest band is to be defined, each template being of a shape of the chest band;
c. trimming the inward most ply about part of the template to define a chest band shaped portion of the inward most ply extending from the breast cups;
d. placing adjacent to the interior assembly a ply of fabric material to define the outermost ply of the bra; and
e. folding a hem defined region of the outer most ply about at least a portion of a perimeter of the interior assembly and adhesively affixing the hem to the inward most ply.
17. A method as claimed in claim 16 wherein the template is removed from the inward most ply prior to the folding and adhesive affixing of the hem.
18. A method as claimed in claim 16 wherein the template is removed from the inward most ply after the folding and adhesive affixing of the hem, the template being positioned intermediate of the inward most ply and the outermost ply during folding and adhesive affixing of the hem.
19. A method as claimed in claim 16 wherein the adhesive affixing of the hem occurs by an adhesive tape provided to the hem region of the exterior most ply.
20. A method as claimed in claim 19 wherein the adhesive tape can be heat activated, the hem being adhered thereby to the inward most ply, by the use of a pinch contact roller.
21. A method as claimed in claim 16 wherein the at least one ply of foam material is formed to define at least one breast cup by press moulding a sheet of foam material.
22. A method as claimed in claim 21 wherein the sheet of foam material is of a constant thickness.
23. A method as claimed in claim 21 wherein the sheet of foam material is of varying thickness.
24. A method according to claim 16, further comprising the steps of
d. fixing fasteners to a chest band end distal from the breast cups,
e. folding a portion of the outward ply over the fasteners, and
f. fixing the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
25. A method according to claim 24, further comprising the step of laminating the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band and the fasteners.
26. A bra comprising an assembly of two plies of flexible fabric, the assembly having a perimeter and comprising an outward ply and an inward ply, the assembly generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, wherein the outward ply is folded at at least a portion of the perimeter to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
27. A bra as claimed in claim 26, wherein the bra further comprises one or more fasteners fixed to a distal end of the chest band disposed from one or each of the breast cups, wherein a base portion of each of the one or more fasteners is fixed to the chest band, wherein a portion of the outward ply is folded over to cover the base portion, and wherein the folded portion of the outward ply is fixed to the outward ply at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
28. A bra according to claim 27, wherein the folded portion of the outward ply is fixed to the outward ply by ultrasonic welding.
29. A bra according to claim 26, wherein the folded portion of the outward ply is laminated with the base portion.
30. A method of forming a molded bra of a kind including an assembly of two plies of flexible fabric, the assembly comprising an inward ply and an outward ply, the assembly generally defining two molded breast cups, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the molded breast cups, the method including the steps of:
a. laminating the outward ply onto the inward ply, and
b. folding a hem defined region of the outward ply about at least a portion of the perimeter of the inward ply and adhesively affixing the hem to the inward ply.
31. A method according to claim 30, further comprising the steps of
d. fixing fasteners to a chest band end remote from the breast cups,
e. folding a portion of the outward ply over the fasteners, and
f. fixing the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
32. A method according to claim 31, further comprising the step of laminating the folded portion of the outward ply with the fasteners.
Descripción
    PRIORITY
  • [0001]
    This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent Ser. No. 11/169,046, filed Jun. 28, 2005, which is know U.S. Publication Number US2006/0105674 published on May 18, 2006, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent Ser. No. 10/987,818, filed Nov. 12, 2004, which is know U.S. Publication Number US 2006/0105673 published on May 18, 2006.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to improvements to a bra and related methods of its construction.
  • BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
  • [0003]
    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.
  • [0004]
    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.
  • [0005]
    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. Perimeter stitching or overlooking ensures that the perimeter remains in tact and is not subjected to fraying over a reasonable life span of the bra. Perimeter stitching usually involves the provision of a hem by some of the plies of the bra about the perimeter which is then stitched onto itself to define a hem about part of or all of the perimeter of the bra. Alternatively a separate piping like hem may be stitched about the perimeter.
  • [0006]
    However, 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. Therefore the provision of stitching or overlooking to the perimeter of a bra can be undesirable.
  • [0007]
    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.
  • [0008]
    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
  • [0009]
    Accordingly in a first aspect the present invention consists in a bra comprising an assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible material, the assembly having a perimeter and generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, the assembly comprising an outward ply of material that is disposed to the convex side of the breast cups, and an inward ply of material that is disposed to the concave side of the breast cups, wherein the outward ply of material is folded at at least a portion of the perimeter of the assembly to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
  • [0010]
    Preferably the outward ply of material presents a first outermost surface of the bra while the inward ply of material presents a second outermost surface of the bra.
  • [0011]
    Preferably the outward ply of material includes a fabric material.
  • [0012]
    Preferably the hem is adhesively affixed to the inward ply.
  • [0013]
    Preferably the perimeter of the assembly comprises (a) a lower edge extending along the bottom edge of the chest bands, (b) for each breast cup, an outer edge extending between the point on the breast cup where a shoulder strap is or may be joined and the chest band that is disposed from the breast cup, and (c) for each breast cup, a neckline extending between the point on the breast cup where a shoulder strap is or may be joined and the bridge.
  • [0014]
    Preferably the outward ply is folded to provide a hem at the lower edge and the outer edge.
  • [0015]
    Preferably at the neckline the outward ply is ultrasonically sealed with the inward ply.
  • [0016]
    Preferably the outward ply is folded to provide a hem at the neckline and the outer edge.
  • [0017]
    Preferably at the lower edge the outward ply is ultrasonically sealed with the inward ply.
  • [0018]
    Preferably the outward ply is, except at the hem, parallel and not affixed to other plies of the assembly.
  • [0019]
    Preferably the outward ply is parallel to and not laminated with other plies of the assembly at the hem.
  • [0020]
    Preferably the assembly at each of the breast cups includes at least one ply of a foam material.
  • [0021]
    Preferably the foam material provides a flexibly rigid cup form.
  • [0022]
    Preferably the bra further comprises one or more fasteners fixed to the distal end of one or each of the chest bands, a base portion of each of the one or more fasteners being fixed to said distal end of one or each of the chest bands, wherein a portion of the outward ply is folded over at said distal end of one or each of the chest bands to capture said base portion between the outward ply and the folded portion of the outward ply, and wherein the folded portion of the outward ply has a perimeter and is fixed to the outward ply at at least a portion of the perimeter of said folded portion of the outward ply.
  • [0023]
    Preferably the base portion of each of the one or more fasteners is laminated with the outward ply.
  • [0024]
    Preferably the bra further comprises one or more fasteners fixed to the distal end of one or each of the chest bands, each of said fasteners having a base portion fixed to a flexible panel, said flexible panel being affixed to one or each of the outward ply and the inward ply of material, wherein one or each of the outward ply and the inward ply of material has one or more apertures at the chest band distal end to allow said fasteners to protrude through said apertures to the exterior.
  • [0025]
    In a further aspect, the present invention consists in a method of forming a molded bra of a kind including an assembly of a plurality of plies of flexible moldable material, the assembly generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, the method comprising:
      • a. laminating onto a ply of fabric material to define the interior most ply of the bra (hereinafter “inward most ply”), molded breast cups defined by at least one ply of a foam material, to define an interior assembly;
      • b. temporarily affixing a rigid substrate template onto the inward most ply, at the regions of the interior most ply where the chest band is to be defined, each template being of a shape of the chest band;
      • c. trimming the inward most ply about part of the template to define a chest band shaped portion of the inward most ply extending from the breast cups;
      • d. placing adjacent to the interior assembly a ply of fabric material to define the outermost ply of the bra; and
      • e. folding a hem defined region of the outer most ply about at least a portion of a perimeter of the interior assembly and adhesively affixing the hem to the inward most ply.
  • [0031]
    Preferably the template is removed from the inward most ply prior to the folding and adhesive affixing of the hem.
  • [0032]
    Preferably the template is removed from the inward most ply after the folding and adhesive affixing of the hem, the template being positioned intermediate of the inward most ply and the outermost ply during folding and adhesive affixing of the hem.
  • [0033]
    Preferably the adhesive affixing of the hem occurs by an adhesive tape provided to the hem region of the exterior most ply.
  • [0034]
    Preferably the adhesive tape can be heat activated, the hem being adhered thereby to the inward most ply, by the use of a pinch contact roller.
  • [0035]
    Preferably the at least one ply of foam material is formed to define at least one breast cup by press moulding a sheet of foam material.
  • [0036]
    Preferably the sheet of foam material is of a constant thickness.
  • [0037]
    Preferably the sheet of foam material is of varying thickness.
  • [0038]
    Preferably, the method further comprises the steps of
      • a. fixing fasteners to a chest band end distal from the breast cups,
      • b. folding a portion of the outward ply over the fasteners, and
      • c. fixing the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
  • [0042]
    Preferably the method further comprises the step of laminating the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band and the fasteners.
  • [0043]
    According to another aspect of the invention, there is provided a bra comprising an assembly of two plies of flexible fabric, the assembly having a perimeter and comprising an outward ply and an inward ply, the assembly generally defining two breast cups formed by molding, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the two breast cups, wherein the outward ply is folded at at least a portion of the perimeter to provide a hem affixed to the inward ply.
  • [0044]
    Preferably the bra further comprises one or more fasteners fixed to a distal end of the chest band disposed from one or each of the breast cups, wherein a base portion of each of the one or more fasteners is fixed to the chest band, wherein a portion of the outward ply is folded over to cover the base portion, and wherein the folded portion of the outward ply is fixed to the outward ply at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
  • [0045]
    Preferably the folded portion of the outward ply is fixed to the outward ply by ultrasonic welding.
  • [0046]
    Preferably the folded portion of the outward ply is laminated with the base portion.
  • [0047]
    According to a still further aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of forming a molded bra of a kind including an assembly of two plies of flexible fabric, the assembly comprising an inward ply and an outward ply, the assembly generally defining two molded breast cups, a bridge between the two breast cups, and a chest band disposed from each of the molded breast cups, the method including the steps of:
      • a. laminating the outward ply onto the inward ply, and
      • b. folding a hem defined region of the outward ply about at least a portion of the perimeter of the inward ply and adhesively affixing the hem to the inward ply.
  • [0050]
    Preferably the method further comprises the steps of
      • a. fixing fasteners to a chest band end remote from the breast cups,
      • b. folding a portion of the outward ply over the fasteners, and
      • c. fixing the folded portion of the outward ply to the chest band at at least a portion of a perimeter of the folded portion.
  • [0054]
    Preferably the method further comprises the step of laminating the folded portion of the outward ply with the fasteners.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0055]
    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:
  • [0056]
    FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a bra of the present invention,
  • [0057]
    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,
  • [0058]
    FIG. 2A shows an optional variation to the preformed assembly of plies of material used to define the cup formed core of the bra wherein a reduction or a change in thickness has been introduced to the foam ply,
  • [0059]
    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,
  • [0060]
    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,
  • [0061]
    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,
  • [0062]
    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 such being molded by the molding press as shown in FIG. 6,
  • [0063]
    FIG. 7 is a plan view of an underwire assembly,
  • [0064]
    FIG. 8 is a sectional view through Section AA of FIG. 7,
  • [0065]
    FIG. 8A is a sectional view through a molding step including molding devices for molding a foam sleeve or sock about the underwire assembly of FIGS. 7 and 8,
  • [0066]
    FIG. 8B is a perspective view of the molded assemblies which have been molded in the molding device of FIG. 8A illustrating trim lines to trim a foam enclosed underwire assembly,
  • [0067]
    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,
  • [0068]
    FIG. 10 illustrates the cutting of the cup formed core assembly of materials from the excess material shown in FIG. 9,
  • [0069]
    FIG. 11 is a plan view of two mirror imaged cup formed core assemblies of components,
  • [0070]
    FIG. 11A is a plan view of a core assembly,
  • [0071]
    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,
  • [0072]
    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,
  • [0073]
    FIG. 14 illustrates the introduction to the laminated assembly of FIG. 13, a layer of a heat resistant material incorporated into the bra during its subsequent manufacturing steps but which is preferably later removed from the components of the bra,
  • [0074]
    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,
  • [0075]
    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,
  • [0076]
    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,
  • [0077]
    FIG. 18 illustrates the bonding of two mirror image components of FIG. 17 together by the bridging element intermediate of the components of an approximate shape of the perimeter of the bra shown in FIG. 1,
  • [0078]
    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 fastening means to the distal end of the chest band,
  • [0079]
    FIG. 20 is a plan view of the assembly of plies of FIG. 18 including the fastening means,
  • [0080]
    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,
  • [0081]
    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,
  • [0082]
    FIG. 23 illustrates a press to laminate the tape applied to the template of FIG. 21 to a ply of fabric material,
  • [0083]
    FIG. 24 illustrates the tape of FIG. 22 having been transferred to the ply of fabric material by the press of FIG. 23,
  • [0084]
    FIG. 25 illustrates the ply of fabric material having been trimmed along its lower and outer perimeter regions but not along the regions to be at the neckline perimeter of the bra,
  • [0085]
    FIG. 26 illustrates a molding device or press to introduce cup forms into the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25,
  • [0086]
    FIG. 27 illustrates part of the ply of fabric material of FIG. 25 into which cup shaped relief has been introduced,
  • [0087]
    FIG. 28 illustrates the end of the chest band to be located 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,
  • [0088]
    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,
  • [0089]
    FIG. 30 is a sectional view through the assembly of FIG. 29,
  • [0090]
    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 (concave side) of the assembly of materials of FIG. 21,
  • [0091]
    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,
  • [0092]
    FIG. 33 illustrates the trimming of the excess material of the outer ply of fabric at the neckline,
  • [0093]
    FIG. 34 is a sectional view through section BB of FIG. 33,
  • [0094]
    FIG. 34A is a perspective view of pinch roller wheels used for adhering the hem,
  • [0095]
    FIG. 35 illustrates the neckline perimeter fold of the breast cup,
  • [0096]
    FIG. 36 illustrates a back view of the bra of FIGS. 1-35 in its final form,
  • [0097]
    FIG. 37 illustrates a back view of an alternative bra in accordance with the present invention,
  • [0098]
    FIG. 38 illustrates a back view of a further alternative bra in accordance with the presnt invention,
  • [0099]
    FIG. 39 illustrates a back view of a still further alternative bra in accordance with the present invention,
  • [0100]
    FIG. 40 illustrates a cross-sectional view of the ends of the chest band of the bra shown in FIG. 39,
  • [0101]
    FIG. 41 illustrates in detail a back view of an end of the chest band region of the bra shown in FIG. 39, and
  • [0102]
    FIGS. 42-44 illustrate steps in the manufacture of the bra shown in FIG. 39.
  • [0103]
    FIG. 45 illustrates an eye tape on a surface of which eyes are fixed.
  • [0104]
    FIG. 46 illustrates a hook tape on a surface of which hooks are fixed.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0105]
    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). As used throughout this application, for convenience, such “perimeter regions” are referred to simply as “perimeters” e.g. as the neckline perimeter, the outer perimeter etc. It is to be understood, however, in accordance with the use of the word “region” in describing these perimeter locations, that the various ‘perimeters’ referred to include not only the exact edge of, e.g. the neckline or the side of a breast cup etc. but also a portion of the area (i.e. or region) adjacent thereto. That is, the word ‘perimeter’ as used herein refers not only to an edge but also to a portion of the area adjacent the edge boundary, with the entirety amounting to a ‘perimeter region’. 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). 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 8 has been created by such folding and by 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.
  • [0106]
    The hem shown in FIG. 36 does not have to extend over the entire perimeter of the bra. FIG. 37 shows a back view of a bra in accordance with the present invention in which the neckline perimeter 12 does not have a hem but is instead finished by ultrasonic welding. The lower perimeter (or lower edge) 11 and the outer perimeter (or outer edge) 10 are finished with a hem as described with reference to FIG. 36.
  • [0107]
    FIG. 38 shows another example of a bra in accordance with the present invention. In FIG. 38, the neckline perimeter (or neckline) 12 is finished with a hem, as is a portion of the outer perimeter 10. The remainder of the outer perimeter extending away from the breast cups 3, 4 and the lower perimeter 11 is finished without a hem, by ultrasonic welding.
  • [0108]
    Where reference herein is made to inward and outward or similar terminology, it is meant be understood to be in relation to the body of the wearer of the bra. For example, the “innermost” or “inner side” is the face side of the bra that is closer to the body of the wearer than the outward portions of the bra.
  • [0109]
    The fully assembled bra of the present invention is preferably 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. However, the present invention also applies to fabric only hemmed seamless bras, as shown in FIG. 39. By seamless it is meant that the bra is visibly substantially seamless, in that the edges of the bra are finished in a seamless way, for example by ultrasonic welding, or by folding the edge of an outer layer over and fixing it to an inner layer by a non-stitching means, or by some other means that is substantially without seams. Seams may, however, be found inside the bra structure where they are not externally visible, or in a visibly less conspicuous external place, such as where the shoulder strap is attached to a breast cup, or where hook and eye fasteners are attached to the chest band.
  • [0110]
    In the following description a bra is referred to. However, it should be apparent that the same construction could form part of another garment such as an evening gown or a swimsuit.
  • [0111]
    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.
  • [0112]
    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 (concave side) face of the bra. The hem 8 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 (or outer edge) 10, the lower perimeter line (or lower edge) 11 and the neckline perimeter (or neckline) 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.
  • [0113]
    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.
  • [0114]
    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, such as Hm-1 of Forbo Swift Adhesives S.A. The precursor core assembly 15 may not be of a constant thickness. FIG. 2A for example shows a cross section of a precursor core assembly 15 which has a foam ply 16 of an uneven thickness. It can be seen with reference to FIG. 2A that the foam ply 16 has been reduced in thickness at certain regions. Such certain regions may be of the precursor core assembly 15 where such a variation in thickness is desired to be incorporated in the final bra product. For example at and towards the neckline perimeter of the bra the thickness of the bra may be reduced as a result of a taper introduced in the precursor core assembly. Such a taper may result in a thinner assembly of plies at the neckline perimeter. Likewise a thicker region may be desired at or towards the lower regions of the breast cup for the purposes of providing enhanced support and/or cleavage to the breasts of the wearer. As such the precursor core assembly 15 may be varied in thickness by a variation in thickness of the foam ply 16. Such a variation may be introduced into the foam ply by known techniques including skiving techniques which are known in foam processing technologies.
  • [0115]
    The precursor core assembly 15 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 e.g. EL58-4s of Inoac Corp. The fabric ply 17 is preferably of a material such as nylon or spandex or may be a mixture of 80% Tactel 40d/34f of a density of 140 g/m2 and 20% lycra 40d. 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 as RM-30 of Ultra Energy Adhesive Trading Company Limited. 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. The second foam ply, may like the first foam ply 16 shown with reference to FIG. 2A, be of varying thickness. The second foam ply may provide such variation in thickness for similar purposes to allow for a variation in thickness and/or rigidity to be provided to the final form of the breast cups of the bra of the present invention. The second foam play 24 may be the only foam ply which has such variation in thickness introduced or may in addition to the foam ply 16, be a foam ply which has a variation in thickness introduced.
  • [0116]
    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. With reference to FIGS. 8A and 8B there is shown an optional addition in respect of the underwire assembly shown in FIG. 7. FIG. 8A illustrates a sectional view through a molding device and wherein two plies of foam 101 and 102 are provided intermediate of which the underwire assembly 25 is placed. The upper and lower mold portions 103, 104 may be moved together to apply pressure and heat to the foam plies 102 and 101 to engage the foam plies together at regions about the underwire assembly 25. Some lamination of the foam plies to the assembly 25 may also occur. The foam plies effectively define a sock about the underwire assembly 25. The resultant product from molding of the step shown in FIG. 8A, is shown in FIG. 8B. Excess foam can be trimmed along the cut lines as shown to define an underwire assembly which has a foam exterior. The foamed underwire assembly has the advantage of providing a softer support to the breasts than the non-foamed underwire assembly of FIG. 7.
  • [0117]
    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.
  • [0118]
    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. A variation to the steps to define the core assemblies 28 as shown in FIG. 11 may be implemented in order to define a single breast cup core assembly as for example shown in FIG. 11A. The steps shown with reference to FIGS. 3, 5, 6 may all occur where the plies are provided to have two breast cup forms introduced positioned appropriately spaced apart and bridged by a bridging region. Rather than a single breast cup form being molded into the plies as shown with reference to these figures double breast cup forms can be molded so as to allow for a unitary breast cup core assembly 12 to be provided as for example shown in FIG. 11A rather than the two breast cup core assemblies 28 of FIG. 11 which require additional affixing to each other.
  • [0119]
    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. As a variation with reference to FIG. 12, the unitary breast cup core assembly 28 of FIG. 11A may be positioned on the interior most ply 33 as a unitary item rather than two items as for example shown in FIG. 12.
  • [0120]
    The interior most ply 33 is preferably of a material such as nylon or spandex.
  • [0121]
    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 some of the perimeter of the interior most ply may be trimmed. That portion of the interior most ply that may be trimmed may be that portion which is immediately adjacent the perimeter of the breast cup core assembly 28 save for at the perimeter of the breast cup core assembly 28 where the wing portions of the bra are to be formed. Alternatively no such trimming at this stage occurs.
  • [0122]
    The next stage is for a wing shaped panel (wing panel 35) to be placed onto the interior most ply 33 and in part over the flange 29. The 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 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 wing panel 35 is made from a rigid film material which may have some flexibility. 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. In one method of the present invention it 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 wing panel 35 is located (other than the hem 8). In this one aspect the wing panel is made from a heat resistant material. In a second aspect, the material need not be heat resistant.
  • [0123]
    In the first aspect of the method of the present invention 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. The plastic material will not melt below a temperature of for example 180 degrees Celsius. As this temperature will not be reached during the first method of manufacturing of the bra, the heat resistant material will not permanently bond with the plies of material immediately adjacent thereto.
  • [0124]
    In both the first and second methods of the invention utilising the wing panel, and as will be explained further on, the wing panel will be removed from the bra by hand.
  • [0125]
    The interior most ply 33 may be trimmed to cutaway excess material of the interior most ply 33 by cutting parallel (preferably along) the perimeter line of the wing panel 35 and (if not already done so before the wing panel was applied) at least part of the perimeter of the breast cup core assembly. Such cutting is for example demonstrated in FIG. 16 by using scissors or other fabric cutter.
  • [0126]
    The provision of the wing panel 35 also allows for more accurate dimensioning of the shape of the wing portion of the bra during cutting. This is so because the plies defining the wing portions of the bra do not contain foam or any other shape consistent material and the wing portions are therefore too soft and elastic to be worked on (i.e. cutting accurately). The provision of the wing panel can reduce the dimensional deviation from approximately 2-3 centimetres to only 3 millimetres on average. It also may be provided for the purposes of allowing more convenient working of the material for the subsequent steps of the manufacturing of the bra.
  • [0127]
    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. 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. Where the unitary breast cup core assembly 28 of FIG. 1A is utilised the assembly of FIG. 17 need not be defined as merely incorporating only one breast cup region. In such an alternative the assembly of FIG. 17 will include both breast cups. Rather than a bridging needing to occur as for example shown with reference to FIG. 18, such bridging has already been provided where the unitary breast cup core assembly 28 of FIG. 11A is utilised. Additional strengthening such as by a bridging panel 37 may still however be provided.
  • [0128]
    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 clasps or fastening means 38 may alternatively be affixed by ironing induced fastening with the use of adhesive coated tape or by ultrasonic welding. Alternatively the fasteners may also be stitched but such is less preferred. In a second method of the present invention involving the wing panel 35, the wing panel 35 is at this stage removed from the assembly or assemblies 36. The wing panels in the second method involving the wing panels, have served their purpose of providing rigidity and dimensioning accuracy for the formation of the wing portions of the bra and positioning and affixing of the clasps or fastening means 38. However in a first method of the present invention involving the wing panels, where such wing panels are of a heat resistant material, such wing panels at this stage remain engaged with the assemblies 36 for serving subsequent purposes during further assembly of the bra.
  • [0129]
    The next stage in the method of manufacturing the bra of the present invention is to prepare the exterior most ply for the bra.
  • [0130]
    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.
  • [0131]
    Preparation of the exterior most ply 9 may in a first preferred method, involve 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.
  • [0132]
    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 although the band of elastic material is optional. It may also be optionally provided at wing portions only. 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.
  • [0133]
    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.
  • [0134]
    The elastic band with which the adhesive coated tape 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.
  • [0135]
    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.
  • [0136]
    The exterior most ply 9 may be of a material such as nylon or spandex or lycra.
  • [0137]
    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.
  • [0138]
    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 apertures 58 may be defined by cutting, such a ultrasonic cutting, laser cutting or physical cutting or any other suitable method. 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. Preferably, the exterior most ply is essentially loose in a central region, possibly but not necessarily including the region overlying the clasps 38. As described above with reference to FIG. 19, the clasps are fixed to the interior most ply. The clasps may be fixed to the exterior most ply also. Thus, the clasps may be sandwiched between the exterior most ply and the interior most ply and may be fixed to, or laminated with, each of the interior most ply and the exterior most ply. The apertures 58 allow a portion of the clasps to protrude through the apertures to the exterior of the bra. The remaining portion (i.e., the base portion) of the clasps is affixed or laminated to the interior most ply and/or the exterior most ply and captured between the interior most ply and the exterior most ply. To facilitate lamination of the base portions of the clasps to the interior most ply and/or the exterior most ply, the base portions of the clasps are affixed to a flexible tape (which preferably is a fabric tape), and the tape is in turn affixed or laminated with the interior most ply and/or the exterior most ply. In this way, the clasps, or more precisely the base portions of the clasps, are indirectly affixed or laminated to the interior most ply and/or the exterior most ply.
  • [0139]
    While the apertures 58 as hereinbefore described are provided on the exterior most ply, they can equally be provided on the interior most ply to allow captured clasps to protrude through the interior most ply instead of the exterior most ply. In a preferred form, captured eyes protrude through the apertures on the exterior most ply, while captured hooks protrude through the apertures on the interior most ply. The other way around is also possible.
  • [0140]
    An alternative to the first preferred method described above for applying the assembly 44 to the exterior most ply 9 by the use of a template, will now be described. Rather than applying the tape as described with reference to FIGS. 21, 22 and 23 by the use of a template to the exterior most ply 9 before trimming the exterior most ply 9 and then applying it to the assembly 36, in an alternative method the exterior most ply 9 may have its breast cup forms molded therein and then applied to the assembly 36. The exterior most ply 9 may be temporarily affixed to the assembly 36 by for example some adhesive or pins or the like to hold the exterior most ply 9 in place to the assembly 36. The assembly 36 will then define a perimeter to the exterior most ply 9 (which is still in an untrimmed form). It is about the perimeter defined by the assembly 36 to which the tape assembly or assemblies can be applied to the exterior most ply 9. The perimeter of the assembly 36 defines a template of a kind for the positioning of the tape 44 parallel and contiguous thereto. The exterior most ply may then also be trimmed by a trimming device such as scissors or a roller cutting knife or similar about the tape.
  • [0141]
    The tape may be applied by a device which consists of two surfaces at least one of which is a wheel and in between which the ply 9 can be fed. The two surfaces pinch together and can also draw therein between the tape for it to be pressure applied to the exterior most ply 9. One or both of the wheels may also include heating elements or the wheel may be heated for example to allow application of heat and pressure (see for example FIG. 34A).
  • [0142]
    Prior to the application of the exterior most ply, the exterior most ply may also be subjected to further steps of providing visually appealing appearance thereto. Such may be by a laser cutting or by stitching to have a lace or an embroidered appearance applied to the exterior most ply.
  • [0143]
    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 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.
  • [0144]
    In a first method of the present invention in respect of the use of the heat resistant wing panel, the application of heat occurs by an iron onto preferably the entire wing portion of the bra as it exists at this stage. As a result of the provision of the heat resistant panel, no bonding of the exterior most ply 9 (other than its hem) occurs with other regions of the assembly 36 at this stage. No iron heat will be applied to the cup regions of the bra at this stage but only to the wing regions. 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.
  • [0145]
    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 may 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 may be for this reason that the wing panel 35 is employed during the assembly of the present invention. The 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. In a first aspect of the method involving the wing panel, 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 may make it difficult, without special devices other than an iron, to accurately define the hem. 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 may also make it difficult for the hem to be folded about the outer and lower perimeter line defined by the assembly 36. In a second method of the invention relating to the use of the wing panel, the wing panel has at this stage already been removed. Such removal has occurred before the folding of the hem 8 is to occur at the wing region of the interior most ply 33. Rather than utilising an iron for adhering the exterior and interior most plies at the wing region together to define the hem 8, a more accurate device for creating the hem is utilised. Since there is no heat resistant panel intermediate of the interior and exterior plies the use of an iron may result in the bonding of the interior and exterior plies together other than at a hem region. The device that may be utilised for merely applying heat and pressure at the hem region is a device as for example shown in FIG. 34A and hereinafter described in more detail.
  • [0146]
    With reference to the first method of the invention involving the wing panel (where the wing panel is a heat resistant wing panel remaining in place during the formation of the hem 8 at the wing portion of the bra), the wing panel requires to be removed once the hem has been formed. As such a method of removal of the wing panel is required. 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.
  • [0147]
    However as mentioned earlier in the specification substantially the entire perimeter of the bra may have 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.
  • [0148]
    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.
  • [0149]
    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. Rather than utilising a iron to apply heat and pressure to the hem line to adhere the hem to the assembly 36, a device of a kind as for example shown in FIG. 34A may be utilised. The device 110 includes for example two pinch roller wheels 111 and 112. Alternatively it may be one pinch roller wheel 111 and one support surface which may operate in conjunction with each other. In the example shown in FIG. 34A, the pinch roller wheels 111 and 112 are placed so that their rotational axes X are substantially parallel to each other. The perimeter of the pinch roller wheels are proximate each other and may also preferably be biased towards each other. Intermediate of the perimeters of the wheels the assembly of plies can be fed. It can be seen that part of the assembly of plies is positioned ready to be inserted between the perimeter of the wheels 111 and 112. The hem can be folded onto the assembly of plies 36 to then have pressure applied between the pinch roller wheels 111 and 112. Hot air may be directed at the adhesive of the tape 44 from an outlet 115 via a conduit 114 to activate the region at which the hem 8 is to be adhered and/or the hem itself. Such hot air can activate the adhesive for the purposes of its adhering to the assembly of plies 36.
  • [0150]
    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. Shoulder straps may be applied to the bra by the use of ultrasonic methods of welding including for example the use of a machine to apply adhesive coated tape onto the strap and the bra and also any other thermal bonding method. Furthermore stitching may also be an alternative form however less preferred.
  • [0151]
    FIG. 39 shows a further embodiment of a bra in accordance with the present invention. The bra 60 shown in FIG. 39 comprises two layers, an inner ply 61 and an outer ply 62 that are laminated together. Both the inner ply 61 and the outer ply 62 are preferably of a fabric material. Underwire 63 is sandwiched between the two plies 61 and 62. The edges of the bra (except around the region where the hook and eye tapes are installed) are hem finished, as previously described. In the manufacture of the bra, the inner ply 61 and the outer ply 62 are laminated to each other and the shape of the breast cups are molded into the two plies after or during lamination. At this stage, the outer ply 62 is larger than the inner ply 62, leaving a margin around the perimeter of the inner ply, which margin is folded over the inner ply to form a hem 64. The hem 64 is fixed to the inner ply using preferably double sided adhesive tape, which is subjected to heat to secure the fixing of the hem 64 to the inner ply 6.
  • [0152]
    The hem 64 may be provided around the entire perimeter of the bra or around only a portion of the perimeter.
  • [0153]
    FIG. 40 shows a cross-section of the ends of the chest bands of the bra shown in FIG. 39. However, the arrangement shown for the ends of the chest bands may equally be applied to the bra shown in FIGS. 1-36. The catches, clasps or fasteners provided at the ends of the chest bands consist of hooks 70 and eyes 71. The hooks and eyes are attached to their respective tapes 65 and 66 which are flexible and which are fixed (preferably by lamination through adhesives and/or heat pressing) to the inner or outer ply or both. In this way, the hooks and the eyes are “indirectly” fixed (preferably laminated) to the inner and/or outer ply.
  • [0154]
    At each chest band end, the outer ply 62 extends beyond the inner ply 61 and is folded back to cover the hook and eye tapes. The hooks and eyes protrude through slits 72 and 73 on the outer ply 62 to the exterior. FIG. 45 shows an eye tape 66 with eyes 71 fixed to it at the base portion 81 of the eyes. Such fixing may be by stitching. The functional portion 82 of the eyes are not fixed to the eye tape and are to protrude through the slits 73 on the outer ply 62 to extend to the exterior. A similar arrangement applies to the hook tape 65 as shown in FIG. 46. Here, the base portion 83 of the hooks 70 are fixed (for example by stitching) to the hook tape while the functional portion 84 of the hooks are not fixed and are to protrude through the slits 72 on the outer ply 62 to extend to the exterior.
  • [0155]
    FIG. 41 shows the rear face of the end of the chest band holding the hooks 70. The hem 64 is shown extending to nearly the end of the chest band. The outer ply 62 is folded back over itself and covers the hook tape 65 and a portion of the inner ply. The folded back portion of the outer ply covering the hook tape is ultrasonically welded to itself at the longitudinal edges of the folded-back portion, and is laminated to the hook tape and (at areas where the folded-back portion is not in contact with the hook tape) to the inner ply 61 or the hem 64 as the case may be. The inner ply may terminate before the hook tape or the hook tape may be fixed to the inner ply. The inner ply may overlap part of or the whole of the hook tape. The entire assembly may be laminated in the region of the hook tape. Lamination can be achieved through the use of heat press with or without adhesives applied.
  • [0156]
    In this way, the base portions of the hooks are laminated with the outer ply, either directly or indirectly through the hook tape.
  • [0157]
    The eye tape 66 is similarly installed. FIGS. 42-44 show the process of covering the eye tape in greater detail. FIG. 42 shows the rear face of the end of the chest band with a hem 64 formed over the inner ply 61. The outer ply 62 is laminated to and extends beyond the inner ply 61.
  • [0158]
    FIG. 43 shows the assembly of FIG. 42 but with the eye tape 65 (with its rear face shown) fixed to the outer ply beyond the extent of the inner ply 61. The eye tape is fixed to the inner and/or outer ply by heat pressing and/or adhesive. The functional portion of the eyes 71 extend to the exterior by protruding through the slits 73 on the front face (not shown) of the outer ply 62. The base portions of the eyes are laminated with the outer ply either directly or indirectly through the eye tape.
  • [0159]
    FIG. 44 shows the end of the chest band after the outer ply has been folded back and laminated to the eye tape by adhesive and/or heat pressing. The outer ply is trimmed to the correct shape. The trimming can occur before or after folding. Preferably, the outer ply is trimmed by ultrasonic cutting simultaneously with ultrasonic sealing to itself around the longitudinal edges of the folded-back portion.
  • [0160]
    While the present invention has been described with reference to particular embodiments thereof, it will be understood that such embodiments are susceptible of modifications and variations without departing from the scope of the present invention and that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the appended claims.
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Citada por
Patente citante Fecha de presentación Fecha de publicación Solicitante Título
US8038506 *4 Dic 200818 Oct 2011Warnaco U.S., Inc.Brassiere with improved side panel construction
US8066546 *7 May 200829 Nov 2011Triumph Intertrade AgBrassiere
US8556677 *29 Abr 201115 Oct 2013Warnaco U.S., Inc.Flexing brassiere
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US960339211 Nov 201528 Mar 2017Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc.Bra
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Clasificaciones
Clasificación de EE.UU.450/1
Clasificación internacionalA41C3/00
Clasificación cooperativaA41B2300/52, A41C3/0014, A41C5/005
Clasificación europeaA41C5/00B, A41C3/00C
Eventos legales
FechaCódigoEventoDescripción
21 Ago 2006ASAssignment
Owner name: REGINA MIRACLE INTERNATIONAL ENTERPRISES LTD., HON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:LIU, ZHEN QIANG;REEL/FRAME:018209/0182
Effective date: 20060802