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Title:
SUPPORT-PROVIDING COATING METHOD AND APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/157499
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method (1400) and system for creating a clothing (100, 200) enhanced to more readily retain a particular shape, for example in order to create a more flattering look for the wearer. In an exemplary embodiment, an article (100) of clothing (100, 200) may be treated with heat applied transfers which may stiffen the clothing (100, 200) in particular areas in order to provide support, contouring, and lift; eligible clothing (100, 200) may include, for example, jeans, which may be enhanced in order to provide a more pronounced and flattering rear portion for the user. Such a method (1400) and system may be combined with other methods and systems, for example a method (1400) and system for creating a clothing (100, 200) with enhanced durability using a heat transfer (102, 104, 306, 308, 406, 408), in order to achieve a resulting article (100, 200) that may have desirable properties, such as breathability, flexibility, stiffness, or durability, in addition to its ability to retain a particular shape more readily.

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Inventors:
WILKINSON, Clair (Key Hills, Martin Top LaneRimington, Lancashire BB7 4EG, 4EG, GB)
Application Number:
US2019/017644
Publication Date:
August 15, 2019
Filing Date:
February 12, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
AVERY DENNISON RETAIL INFORMATION SERVICES, LLC (8080 Norton Parkway, 22DMentor, Ohio, 44060, US)
International Classes:
A41H27/00; A41D27/08
Foreign References:
US20130086727A12013-04-11
US20150064372A12015-03-05
US3086873A1963-04-23
US20140259279A12014-09-18
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAIER, Michael (Avery Dennison Corporation, 8080 Norton Parkway 22, Mentor Ohio, 44060, US)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A device for providing increased support and durability to an article, comprising:

at least one barrier component for providing enhanced durability to the article; and

at least removable transfer component attached to the barrier component such that the device is configured to bond to at least one area of the article.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein the at least one barrier component is configured to bond to a surface of the article.

3. The device of claim 1, wherein the barrier component is configured to integrate into a surface of the article.

4. The device of claim 1, wherein the barrier component includes an adhesive ink layer.

5. The device of claim 1, wherein the article is an article of clothing.

6. The device of claim 5, wherein the article of clothing is a pair of pants.

7. The device of claim 5, wherein the article of clothing is a shirt.

8. A method for creating an article with enhanced support and durability, comprising the steps of: providing one or more support devices; and

applying the one or more support devices to the article in one or more predetermined areas to enhance support and durability of the area.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the one or more support devices is provided as a coating.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the one or more support devices is provided as a heat transfer.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the article is a pair of pants and further wherein the one or more predetermined areas include a hip portion, a rear seat portion, a knee portion, or a cuff portion of the pants.

12. The method of claim 8, wherein the article is a shirt and further wherein the one or more predetermined areas include an elbow portion, collar portion, or upper shoulder portion of the shirt.

13. The method of claim 8, further comprising forming a protective barrier on a surface of the article.

14. The method of claim 8, further comprising infusing the one or more support devices into a fabric of the article.

15. The method of claim 8, further comprising removing a backing component to expose a barrier component.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising positioning the barrier component adjacent to the predetermined area.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising applying heat and pressure to the barrier component.

18. An article having increased support and durability, including:

a substrate;

one or more support devices applied to one or more surfaces of the substrate.

19. The article of claim 18, wherein the article is an article of clothing and the one or more support devices are applied to one or more areas of the clothing that incur high amounts of wear.

20. The article of claim 19, wherein the article of clothing is a pair of pants, and the one or more areas include a knee of the pant, a thigh of the pant, a rear seat portion of the pant, or a cuff of the pant.

Description:
SUPPORT-PROVIDING COATING METHOD AND APPARATUS

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

[0001] The present application claims priority to and the benefit of United States provisional utility patent application number 62/629,393 filed February 12, 2018, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Clothing, safety attire and other articles that are worn, such as shirts, pants, uniforms, personal protective equipment, and the like, are susceptible to wear and tear from regular use. Further, different clothing materials wear faster or more easily than others, and certain areas of clothing are more prone to wear. For example, clothing worn about a wearer's knees, elbows, buttocks, crotch, wrists (cuffs), and shoulders often wear out, fail, rip, or otherwise deteriorate faster than other areas along the article of clothing. Moreover, clothing worn during the course of performing physical labor, participating in a sporting or outdoor activity, repeated work repeated work related activities, and/or the like, oftentimes wear faster in the above referenced or other areas where clothing is in regular contact with a surface.

[0003] Traditional solutions to prevent or decrease the wear and tear or destruction of clothing include sewing or otherwise fastening patches or durable materials to heavy wear areas of the clothing. However, such solutions often detract from the aesthetic appearance of the clothing, or are not suitable to be worn in many environments or conditions which result in high amounts of clothing wear or fatigue. Additionally, these solutions are subject to wearing out on their own, becoming dislodged, and/or otherwise not functioning properly. Further, the placement of such solutions is often limited to the exterior portions of the clothing article so as not to interfere with the comfort of the individual wearing the same or to comply with certain manufacturing requirements. [0004] Therefore, there is a need in the art for a solution that provides enhanced durability and/or support to articles that are prone to wear, such as clothing, and that does not otherwise detract from the aesthetic appearance of the article. The present invention discloses a protective or supportive device for a clothing article, such as a coating or heat transfer label, that reduces the degradation of the clothing article in those areas that are typically prone to excessive wear. The present invention also discloses a method of applying the protective or supportive device to an article of clothing, as well as to other articles that would benefit from anti-abrasion or excessive wear reduction characteristics.

SUMMARY

[0005] The following presents a simplified summary in order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects of the disclosed innovation. This summary is not an extensive overview, and it is not intended to identify key/critical elements or to delineate the scope thereof. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed description that is presented later.

[0006] The subject matter disclosed and claimed herein, in one aspect thereof, comprises a protective or supportive device, substance, or coating, such as a heat transfer label or other polymeric material, for providing support to enhance the durability of those portions of an article of clothing that are prone to wear or premature degradation, without detracting from the aesthetical appearance of the article. The present invention also discloses a method of applying the protective or supportive device to the article of clothing, or any other article that may benefit from increased support, anti-abrasion, or excessive wear reduction characteristics.

[0007] In one exemplary embodiment, a method and system for creating one or more articles of clothing with enhanced durability and/or support is provided. For example, the protective or supportive device can be applied to portions of an article of clothing to provide increased support, anti-abrasion, or enhanced wear capabilities along those specific portions of the article that are the most prone to wear and tear. For example, the protective or supportive device could be provided in areas such as the knee areas of pants or elbow areas of shirts. The protective or supportive device applied to these areas can provide properties to the article of clothing that reduce or prevent wear and tear, for example, by forming a protective or supportive barrier outside of the fabric of the clothing or infusing the same into the clothing fabric. As a result, the clothing with the protective or supportive device may have enhanced durability and a longer useful life, both of which are desirable.

[0008] In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, the protective or supportive device comprises a bonding or barrier component. The barrier component may be bondable to a substrate or fabric, such as an article of clothing, to enhance the durability of the substrate where bonded to the barrier component. More specifically, the barrier component may either bond to the surface of the substrate, or it may integrate or infuse into the substrate to form a supportive or protective barrier.

[0009] According to another exemplary embodiment of the present invention, the protective or supportive device may comprise both a bonding or barrier component and a transfer component. The bonding component is bondable to a substrate, such as clothing fabric, to enhance the durability of the substrate and reduce or slow its degradation when subjected to repeated wear and tear and/or abrasive materials. Further, the transfer component may be removably attached to the barrier component to protect the same until the barrier component is ready to be attached or infused into the substrate or fabric.

[0010] According to yet another exemplary embodiment, a method of applying the protective or supportive device of the present invention to a substrate is disclosed. More specifically, and by way of example, the backing of the transfer component may be removed from the protective or supportive device to expose the bonding or barrier component. The barrier component may then be positioned adjacent to the area of the substrate, such as the fabric of an article of clothing, where reinforcement, support, and/or enhanced durability is desired. Finally, heat and/or pressure may then be applied to the barrier component to attach or integrate the barrier component with the substrate, such as the fabric or an article of clothing. More specifically, the barrier component may attach itself to the exterior of the fabric, or infuse itself into said fabric to create a bond therewith. The barrier component may further comprise an adhesive ink layer or coating to further aid in attaching the barrier component to the article. [0011] According to an additional embodiment of the present invention, a protective or supportive device provides an article of clothing with one or more contour areas to accentuate aspects of a figure or to add additional shape and support for a wearer. For example, when the protective or supportive device is applied to the rear or buttocks portion of pants, the protective or supportive device may provide support, such as increased lift or shaping, to the wearer's buttocks.

[0012] In accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention, the protective or supportive device can provide increased support to certain portions of an article of clothing to help alleviate physical or other handicaps from which a wearer may suffer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

[0013] Advantages of embodiments of the present invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of the exemplary embodiments thereof, which description should be considered in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like numerals indicate like elements, in which:

[0014] FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants, in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

[0015] FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to a second article of clothing, namely, a shirt, in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

[0016] FIG. 3 illustrates placement of a plurality of protective or supportive devices shown on an exemplary diagram of a sew pattern for an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants.

[0017] FIG. 4 illustrates placement of a plurality of protective or supportive devices shown on an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants, on an exemplary set of front leg and back leg portions thereof.

[0018] FIG. 5 illustrates a front view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants.

[0019] FIG. 6 illustrates a back view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants. [0020] FIG. 7 illustrates placement of a plurality of protective or supportive devices according to an alternate embodiment shown on an exemplary diagram of a sew pattern for an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants.

[0021] FIG. 8 illustrates placement of a plurality of protective or supportive devices shown on an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants, on an exemplary set of front leg and back leg portions thereof.

[0022] FIG. 9 illustrates a front view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants.

[0023] FIG. 10 illustrates a back view of a plurality of protective or supportive devices attached to an article of clothing, namely, a pair of pants.

[0024] FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of one potential embodiment of a protective device of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

[0025] FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a protective device of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

[0026] FIG. 13 illustrates a perspective view of yet another alternative embodiment of a protective device of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

[0027] FIG. 14 illustrates a flow chart of one embodiment of the method of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0028] Aspects of the invention are disclosed in the following description and related drawings directed to specific embodiments of the invention, wherein like reference numerals are used to refer to like elements throughout. Alternate embodiments may be devised without departing from the spirit or the scope of the invention. Additionally, well-known elements of exemplary embodiments of the invention will not be described in detail or will be omitted so as not to obscure the relevant details of the invention. Further, to facilitate an understanding of the description discussion of several terms used herein follows. [0029] As used herein, the word "exemplary" means "serving as an example, instance or illustration." The embodiments described herein are not limiting, but rather are exemplary only. It should be understood that the described embodiments are not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments. Moreover, the terms "embodiments of the invention", "embodiments" or "invention" do not require that all embodiments of the invention include the discussed feature, advantage or mode of operation.

[0030] The present invention discloses a protective device for enhancing or improving the durability of, or providing additional support to, a substrate, such as an article of clothing with areas thereof that are prone to premature degradation from excessive wear. According to an exemplary embodiment, and referring generally to the Figures, protective or supportive devices for use with articles of clothing and methods for forming articles of clothing with protective or supportive devices may be shown and described. While the present specification relates to articles or clothing, the present specification is not limited to such. Stated differently, the protective or supportive devices of the present invention and their related methods may be used with any substrate where material fatigue or increased wear is likely. Further, the articles of clothing may include one or more protective or supportive devices, such as a heat transfer, that are applied to desired areas of the clothing, and which can provide enhanced durability and life to the article of clothing.

[0031] The protective or supportive devices of the present invention may act as a reinforcing element, a barrier, or an anti-abrasion agent that covers the applied areas, or may be infused into the fabric of the clothing to decrease wear and otherwise extend the useful life of high wear portions of the fabric without detracting from the aesthetic appeal of the article. The protective or supportive devices can be utilized on a variety of substrates or materials, including fabrics, for a variety of articles, such as clothing, as well as other fabric items which incur excessive wear. For example, the protective or supportive devices described herein could be utilized on canvas bags, backpacks, computer cases, garment bags, suitcases, shoes, gloves, personal protective equipment, apparel accessories, and the like.

[0032] Referring now to the Figures, FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of a plurality of protective devices 102 attached to an article 100 in accordance with the disclosed architecture. Article 100 can be an article of clothing as shown in FIG. 1, for example, a pair of pants. It should be understood that any other article, type of garment or accessory, such as canvas bags, backpacks, computer cases, garment bags, suitcase, shirts, blouses, socks, underwear, outerwear, shoes, gloves, personal protective equipment, apparel accessories, and the like. The pair of pants 100 depicted in FIG. 1 may be any type of pants, for example, denim jeans, cargo pants, business slacks, personal protective equipment, dress slacks, shorts, capris, leggings, etc. The pants 100 may be formed and shaped in traditional or known manners.

[0033] One or more protective or supportive devices 102, 104, which are more fully described below, may be applied to an exterior or interior portion of article 100 depending on user preference or need. For example, FIG. 1 depicts a plurality of protective or supportive devices 102 applied on the exterior portion 103 of pants 100. Additionally, or alternatively, a plurality of protective or supportive devices 104 may be applied on the interior or sides portion of pants 100 in particular areas. More specifically, a plurality of protective or supportive devices 102, 104 may be applied to certain areas or zones of the garment, such as, but not limited to, pants 100 known for incurring high amounts of wear or that are prone to premature failure or degradation. For example, the plurality of protective or supportive devices 102, 104 can be applied to the knee areas, the thigh/crotch areas, and the cuff areas of pants 100. Although the plurality of protective or supportive devices 102 are shown on exterior portion 103 of the pants 100, it may be appreciated that protective or supportive devices 102 may also be applied on the interior portions 105 of pants 100 as well or in the alternative. For example, heat transfer 104 is shown on the interior of rear or buttocks portion of pants 100.

[0034] When one or more protective or supportive devices 102, 104 are applied to an article, including an article of clothing or other fabric article, the protective or supportive devices 102, 104 may form a barrier on the surface of the fabric on which it is placed (e.g., exterior or interior surface). This barrier may act similarly to a traditional sewn-on patch, but may also be more integrally formed with the fabric and provide enhanced durability, improved appearance, and generally reduce wear. For example, knee areas of pants 100 are commonly known to wear out due to the general walking motion of wearers, kneeling on the ground or other various surfaces when performing activities, or otherwise rubbing or bumping against exterior objects. Traditionally, such activity results in the knee areas of pants 100 fatiguing, tearing, or otherwise wearing out faster than, for example, lesser used portions of the pants 100, such as the shin areas. Therefore, incorporating the plurality of protective or supportive devices 102, 104 with the pants 100 will reduce the wear and fatigue on the applied areas, thereby resulting in pants 100 with a longer useful life and greater functionality.

[0035] FIG. 2 illustrates a front view of the plurality of protective or supportive devices 202 attached to a second article of clothing 202, namely, a shirt, in accordance with the disclosed architecture. More specifically, one or more protective devices 202 of the present invention may be applied to a surface (e.g., exterior surface or interior surface) of shirt 200. For example, FIG. 2 depicts a plurality of protective or supportive devices 202 applied on the exterior portion 203 of shirt 200. The plurality of protective of supportive devices 202 may be applied to those areas of the shirt 200 known for incurring high amounts of wear or that are prone to premature failure. For example, the plurality of protective or supportive devices 202 can be applied to the elbow areas, arm pit areas (not shown), collar areas (not shown), and/or upper chest areas of the shirt 200. Although the plurality of protective or supportive devices 202 are only shown on the exterior portion 203 of the shirt 200 in FIG. 2, it may be appreciated by one of ordinary skill in the art that the protective devices 202 may also be deployed on the interior portion 204 of shirt 200, either alone or in combination with those applied to the exterior surfaces 203.

[0036] Referring now generally to exemplary FIGS. 3-10, a person of ordinary skill in the art may understand that protective or supportive devices according to the embodiments disclosed herein may be applied to articles in the marketplace for purposes other than protection of the fabric, or for purposes in addition to protection of the fabric, such as may be desired. In some embodiments, one or more protective or supportive devices are added to an article, such as an article of clothing, in order to strategically shape or contour the fabric.

[0037] In one embodiment, one or more protective or supportive devices may be used to stiffen the article. By providing increased stiffness to an article, a protective or supportive device can prevent the article from being extended or deformed into a particular shape. Thus, in some embodiments, one or more protective or supportive devices may ensure that the article, such as an article of clothing, has a particular shape, aesthetic, or visual effect when worn. [0038] In other embodiments, one or more protective or supportive devices may also, or alternatively, be used in a prosthetic manner. For example, a protective or supportive device may assist the user or wearer of an article with any physical disability or handicap by providing increased stiffness to an article, such as an article of clothing which may aid in the user in utilizing or putting on the article.

[0039] For example, according to one embodiment, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied in one or more areas of an article, such as an article of clothing. A pair of pants, such as blue jeans or any other such pair of pants, may have one or more protective or supportive devices applied thereto in certain areas in order to ensure that the pants are provided and/or worn in a particular shape (for example, so that the pants provide support, contouring, or lift when worn). In some embodiments presently contemplated one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to the inside of the pair of pants on an inward-facing side of the fabric. Advantageously, this may provide shape or support to the pair of pants when worn without making the protective or supportive devices clearly visible from the outside of the pants while providing a shape having the desired aesthetic effect.

[0040] According to another exemplary embodiment, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to the outside of an article, such as an article of clothing. For example, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to a pair of pants on an outward-facing side of the fabric to provide the pair of pants a different aesthetic effect. For example, one or more protective or supportive devices having a certain color may be provided on the outside of the pair of pants in order to highlight a particular area of the pair of pants where the one or more protective or supportive devices are applied in order to draw attention to those particular areas.

[0041] In yet another example, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to the outside of an article, such as an article of clothing, to provide protection to the fabric as well as support. For example, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to the outside of a pair of jeans in order to achieve a creased, heavily-starched "cowboy" look, and in order to simultaneously protect the fabric from dirt, wear, and the like. [0042] According to an exemplary embodiment, one or more protective or supportive devices may be applied to any other articles of clothing other than pants, such as shirts, fabric jackets, or any other articles of clothing or any other fabric such as may be desired. For example, it may even be contemplated to provide one or more protective or supportive devices on socks in order to provide ankle support or in order to provide some other benefit, such as increased durability in high areas of wear, such as the heel or toe portions.

[0043] In some embodiments, protective or supportive devices may have any degree of breathability or any degree of flexibility. For example, a protective or supportive device may be highly breathable and flexible. In some exemplary embodiments, a protective or supportive device may be stretchable up to a percent elongation of up to 15%. In alternative embodiments, a protective or supportive device may be stiffer and less breathable and flexible. In these embodiments, for example, if it is desired to provide a very pronounced shape or set of contouring on an article of fabric, it may be necessary to provide a very stiff protective or supportive device in order to maintain a particular shape. In other embodiments, a protective or supportive device may be breathable but stuff. For example, it may be desirable to provide an article, e.g., an article of clothing such as a sock, that is highly breathable but less flexible.

[0044] In some exemplary embodiments, protective or supportive devices may be thinned or thickened as necessary before or during application, or applied over layers that had already been applied. For example, additional protective or supportive devices may be added into an area that has already been provided with a contour or a particular shape in order to improve aspects of the formed shape, such as the resolution of the shape or other aspects such as may be desired.

[0045] In some embodiments, different types of protective or supportive devices may be used in building up a particular area. Fr example, a first protective or supportive device could be more abrasion resistant and a protective or supportive device that may appear next to the skin could be a softer, more comfortable layer. In some embodiments, a protective or supportive device may be provided with one or more additional features, such as additional padding for comfort or otherwise and/or wicking to wick moisture away from the body.

[0046] In one exemplary embodiment, a plurality of the protective or supportive devices may be in a staggered layout upon its application or integration into an article. This staggered layout may be utilized when increased abrasion resistance is desired in a specific area(s) while also providing properties associated with a single protective or supportive device on another area(s) of the article. Furthermore, the protective or supportive devices in the staggered layout may be comprised of protective or supportive devices having varying properties. Looking now at exemplary FIGS. 3-6, an exemplary embodiment of a pair of pants, for example jeans, having one or more protective or supportive devices applied thereto is shown. In some embodiments, a shaping heat transfer is applied to a pair of pants between the waistline and the crotch line. In such embodiments, the protective or supportive device may serve to provide contouring or other desirable shape to the wearer's hip region when worn, which may produce a more flattering or otherwise desirable aesthetic effect for the wearer.

[0047] FIG. 3 shows an exemplary diagram of a pants sew pattern 300, which shows an exemplary placement of a protective or supportive device, such as a support or contouring heat transfer. According to an exemplary embodiment, a heat transfer 306 may be applied to a back side 302 of a pair of pants and additionally, or alternatively, a heat transfer 308 may be applied to a front side 304 of a pair of pants, in each case in the hip region. According to an exemplary embodiment, each of a back side 302 and a front side 304 may be provided along with other fabric elements that may be used to assemble a pair of pants (such as jeans) from a pants sew pattern 300, such as, for example, a waistband 310 configured to extend around the waist of the wearer when the pants are worn and which may be coupled, by sewing or otherwise, to the portion of the pants to which the heat transfer 306, 308 has been applied. Other elements may include, for example, any one or more of the following: a yoke piece 324, which may be applied to the top of the back piece 302 between the top of the back piece 302 and the waistband 310; a fly piece 314, which may be applied to the front piece 304; patch pocket pieces 312, 316, which may be used in order to form a patch pocket on the back side 302 of the pants; and side pocket pieces 318, 320, which may, together with a key pocket piece 322, be used to form a side pocket on the front side 304 of the pants. Other configurations may also be possible, and certain components may be optional or varied as desired. For example, according to an exemplary embodiment, it may be desired to remove a key pocket from one or both sides of the pants (such as a left-hand side or a right-hand side). In such embodiments, a key pocket piece 322 may not be provided or may be provided only on one pattern. [0048] In another exemplary embodiment, it may be desired to eliminate the yoke piece 324. In such embodiments, contouring may be accomplished by the use of darts, if desired, as well as, or alternatively, by a shaping heat transfer. In still other embodiments, the yoke piece 324 may be provided in a substantially different shape in order to provide a different shape of yoke. For example, according to some exemplary embodiments, a pair of pants may be created with an inverted arc yoke in order to create the illusion of a fuller rear portion of the pants when worn. Alternatively, a pair of pants may be created with a straight or horizontal yoke in order to make the waist appear wider when worn. In still other embodiments, a pair of pants may be created with a "v-shaped," "sweet heart," or "wide" yoke having a generally angled shape in order to provide a particular visual effect, or may otherwise be customized as may be desired.

[0049] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 4, FIG. 4 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary set of front leg 304 and back leg 302 portions of a pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer 306, 308. According to an exemplary embodiment, each pants sew pattern 300 such as may be shown in FIG. 3 may be used as the basis to create one front leg 304 portion and one back leg 302 portion, which may be combined with other components described herein in order to, for example, provide a rear patch pocket 330 on the back leg 302 portions and in order to provide a front pocket 332 on the front leg 304 portions.

[0050] According to an exemplary embodiment, the front leg 304 and back leg 302 portions of the pants may be treated with a heat applied transfer 306, 308 over a portion of back leg 302 and front leg 304, respectively, spanning from a waistline 326 of the pants to a crotch line 328 of the pants, substantially encompassing the hipline of the pants. In other exemplary embodiments, the pants may be treated with a heat transfer that is applied over a different portion, such as, for example, between the waistline 326 and the hipline, between the hipline and the crotch line 328, between any of the aforementioned lines and the knee line, or between any position or set of positions and any other position or set of positions, such as may be desired.

[0051] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 5, FIG. 5 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer 308, in this case shown from the front. According to an exemplary embodiment, the heat transfer part 308 of the front part of the pants 304 may be provided just under the waistband 310 of the pants and extend approximately to the crotch line of the pants. In some exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer part 308 may have any shape in the top portion, the bottom portion, or any other portion. For example, according to an exemplary embodiment, the lower part of the heat transfer part 308 may be provided with a downward-sloping diagonal shape that has a highest portion near the crotch region of the pants and a lowest portion near the out seams of the pants. Other shapes may also be provided, as desired. For example, the lower portion of the heat transfer region 308 may have a horizontal flat edge, a curved edge, or any other shape such as may be desired.

[0052] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 6, FIG. 6 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer 306, in this case shown from the rear. According to an exemplary embodiment, the heat transfer region 306 of the back portion 302 of the pants may be provided just under a yoke portion 324 of the pants and extend to an inseam region of the pants. In some exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer region 306 may have any shape, such as may be desired. For example, according to an exemplary embodiment, the lower part of the heat transfer part 306 may be provided with a curved shape having a highest portion near the out seam region of the pants and a lowest portion near the inseam region of the pants. Other variations, such as flat or angled edges or any other edge designs, may be understood as may be desired.

[0053] Looking now at exemplary FIGS. 7-10, an exemplary embodiment of a pair of pants, for example jeans, having a shaping heat transfer applied thereto approximately between the crotch line and the knee line is shown. Such an exemplary embodiment of a pair of pants may serve to provide contouring or other desirable shape to the wearer's thigh region when worn, producing a more flattering or otherwise desirable aesthetic effect for the wearer.

[0054] Looking now at FIG. 7, an exemplary diagram of a pants sew pattern 400, which shows an exemplary placement of a support or contouring heat transfer 406, 408 is shown. According to an exemplary embodiment, a heat transfer 406 may be applied to a back side 402 of a pair of pants and additionally, or alternatively, a heat transfer 408 may be applied to a front side 404 of a pair of pants, in each case in the thigh region. According to an exemplary embodiment, each of a back side 402 and a front side 404 may be provided along with other fabric elements that may be used to assemble a pair of pants (such as jeans) from a pants sew pattern 400, such as, for example, a waistband 410 configured to extend around the waist of the wearer when the pants are worn and which may be coupled, by sewing or otherwise, to the portion of the pants to which the heat transfer 406, 408 has been applied. Other elements may include, for example, any one or more of the following: a yoke piece 424, which may be applied to the top of the back piece 402 between the top of the back piece 402 and the waistband 410; a fly piece 414, which may be applied to the front piece 404; patch pocket pieces 412, 416, which may be used in order to form a patch pocket on the back side 402 of the pants; and side pocket pieces 418, 420, which may, together with a key pocket piece 422, be used to form a side pocket on the front 404 side of the pants. Just as in FIGS. 3-6 above, certain variations may be understood and may be made as desired.

[0055] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 8, FIG. 8 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary set of front leg 404 and back leg 402 portions of a pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer 408, 406, respectively. According to an exemplary embodiment, each pants sew pattern 400 such as may be shown in FIG. 7 may be used as the basis to create one front portion 404 and one back portion 402, which may be combined with the other components in order to, for example, provide a rear patch pocket 430 on the back portions 402 and in order to provide a front pocket 432 on the front portions 404. According to an exemplary embodiment, the front 404 and back 402 portions of the pants may be treated with a heat transfer 408, 406 over a portion of the front portion 404 and/or back portion 402, respectively. In some embodiments, heat transfer 406, 408 spans over a certain portion of the pants, such as from a crotch line 426 of the pants to a knee line 428 of the pants. In other exemplary embodiments, the pants may be treated with a heat transfer that is applied over a different portion, such as may be desired.

[0056] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 9, FIG. 9 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer, in this case shown from the front. According to an exemplary embodiment, the heat transfer part 408 of the front part of the pants 404 may be provided, in a minor variation from FIG. 8, from the hipline of the pants to approximately the knee line of the pants. Other variations, such as providing the heat transfer part 408 at the crotch line or at a point just under the waistband

410, may also be understood as may be desired. In some exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer part 408 may have any shape in the top portion, the bottom portion, or any other portion. For example, the lower part of the heat transfer part 408 may be provided with an upward-sloping diagonal shape that has a highest portion near the out seams of the pants and that has a lowest region near the inseams of the pants. Other shapes may also be provided, as desired. For example, the lower portion of the heat transfer region 408 may have a horizontal flat edge, a curved edge, or any other shape such as may be desired.

[0057] Turning now to exemplary FIG. 10, FIG. 10 shows an exemplary diagram of an exemplary pair of pants treated with a support or contouring heat transfer 406, in this case shown from the rear. According to an exemplary embodiment, the heat transfer region 406 of the back portion 402 of the pants may be provided just under a yoke portion 424 of the pants and extend to an inseam region of the pants. In some exemplary embodiments, the heat transfer region 406 may have any shape, such as may be desired. For example, according to an exemplary embodiment, the lower part of the heat transfer part 406 may be provided with a shape approximately matching that of the front portion of the pants as provided in exemplary FIG. 9. Other variations, such as flat or angled edges or any other edge designs, may be understood as may be desired.

[0058] FIG. 11 illustrates a perspective view of one potential embodiment of a protective or supportive device 1100 of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture. Protective or supportive device 1100 may be the same as protective or supportive devices depicted in the previous Figures, and is preferably comprised of at least one barrier component 1102 bondable to at least a portion of a substrate, such as articles of clothing 100, 200 for enhancing their durability. The barrier component 1102 may be comprised of a polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene or polyvinylchloride, though other materials are also contemplated. The barrier component 1102 may be bonded to the substrate via any adhesive known in the art and may be laminated. For instance, the barrier component 1102 may be activated using heat, pressure, or both, but may further comprise an adhesive 1104, such as a polyamide, phenoxy or polyester adhesive, positioned thereon that enables barrier component 1102 to bond to the surface of the substrate or that integrates with the substrate to form a barrier that can resist or reduce wear to the article 100, 200 and potentially other items, such as liquids. Adhesive 1104 is also typically activated using heat, pressure, or both. [0059] In one embodiment presently contemplated, the support device 1100 is comprised of multiple layers such that at least one of the layers may comprise at least one RFID (radio frequency identification) device. The support device 1100 is not limited to any particular shape or size, and may be laser or die cut into any particular shape known in the art.

[0060] As previously stated, in one embodiment, the protective or supportive device 1100 may comprise a transfer device, such as heat transfer device or a cold transfer device. For example, heat transfers utilized in exemplary embodiments described herein may be hot paper transfers that are applied to a textile or fabric with heat and/or pressure. In alternative embodiments, a transfer device can be cold transfers. The present invention contemplates transfer devices are marketed under the AGILITY ® and PRECISION™ brands from Avery Dennison Retail Information Service, LLC. In some embodiments, the protective device 1100 may be such that it does not utilize any form of special coated paper, adhesive glue, or powders in the application process. Instead, the barrier component 1102 may comprise an ink 1105 throughout the barrier component 1102 or otherwise in desired areas.

[0061] Upon application of heat and/or pressure to the protective or supportive device 1100, the ink 1105 melts. The melting of the ink 1105 causes it to bond with the underlying fabric and, in some exemplary embodiments, to form a patch-like area of high durability and/or increased support, such as shown in FIGS. 1- 10. Alternatively, the ink 1105 may melt in such a manner so as to be infused into the fabric of article 100, 200. Such ink or inks may melt and be infused into the fabrics without bleeding into surrounding fabrics.

[0062] The barrier component 1102 may be transparent or translucent when applied to the substrate of articles 100, 200. Alternatively, the barrier component 1102 may be visible as desired, such as imbedded with a decorative design or other useful indicia, such as branding, garment care instructions, or artwork.

[0063] Protective or supportive device 1100 can be any suitable size, shape, and configuration as is known in the art for providing ample coverage for articles 100, 200 needing protection from wear or additional support without affecting the overall concept of the invention. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the shape and size of protective or supportive device 1100 as shown in FIG. 11, and protective devices shown in the previous Figures, are for illustrative purposes only and many other shapes and sizes of protective or supportive device 1100 are well within the scope of the present disclosure. Although the shape and dimensions of protective or supportive device 1100 (i.e., length and width) are important design parameters for good performance, protective or supportive device 1100 may be any shape or size that ensures optimal performance during use.

[0064] FIG. 12 illustrates a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of a protective or supportive device 1200 of the present invention in accordance with the disclosed architecture. Protective or supportive device 1200 may be the same as protective devices depicted in FIGS. 1-10, and is preferably comprised of a barrier or bonding component 1202 bondable to at least a portion of a substrate, such as articles of clothing 100, 200 for enhancing their durability.

[0065] As described above, the barrier component 1202 is typically comprised of polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene or polyvinylchloride, though other materials are also contemplated. Further, barrier component 1202 is typically activated using heat, pressure, or both, but may further comprise an adhesive 1203 positioned thereon that enables barrier component 1202 to bond to the surface of the substrate or that integrates with the substrate to form a barrier that can resist wear and potentially other items, such as liquids.

[0066] Adhesive 1203 may include a polyamide, phenoxy or polyester adhesive, or any other suitable adhesive known in the art without affecting the overall concept of the present invention. The adhesive 1203 may be positioned on barrier component 1202 to enable barrier component 1202 to bond to the surface of the substrate, or integrate with the substrate to form a barrier that can resist or reduce wear to the article 100, 200, and potentially other items, such as liquids. Adhesive 1203 is also typically activated using heat, pressure, or both.

[0067] Protective or supportive device 1200 further comprises a transfer component 1204 that is removably detachable from barrier component 1202. The transfer component 1204 may comprise a removable backing, such as a transfer paper, a pealable film, or the like, and protects barrier component 1202 and adhesive 1203, if present, prior to its application to article 100, 200. For example, transfer component 1204 may protect barrier component 1202 from becoming dirty or from premature activation, both of which could damage protective or supportive device 1200 and render the same unusable.

[0068] As described above, in one embodiment, the protective or supportive device 1200 may comprise a heat transfer device, such as a hot paper transfer that is applied to a textile or fabric with heat and/or pressure. The protective or supportive device 1200 may be such that it does not utilize any form of special coated paper, adhesive glue, or powders in the application process. Instead, the barrier component 1202 may comprise an ink 1205 throughout the barrier component 1202 or otherwise in desired areas. Ink 1205 may be comprised of one or more conventional heat transfer label inks, such as polyester inks, polyester/vinyl inks, polyamide inks and/or acrylic inks.

[0069] Upon application of heat and/or pressure to the protective or supportive device 1200, the ink 1205 melts. The melting of the ink 1205 causes it to bond with the underlying fabric, in some exemplary embodiments, to form a patch-like area of high durability, such as shown in FIGS. 1-10. Alternatively, the ink 1205 may melt in such a manner so as to be infused into the fabric of article 100, 200. Such inks 1205 may melt and be infused into the fabrics without bleeding into surrounding fabrics.

[0070] Additional transfer techniques are also contemplated by the present invention. For example, in a hot- split transfer, heat is applied to the barrier component 1202 and the transfer component 1204 is removed before the heat dissipates. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the barrier component 1202 may form a liquid resistant barrier where applied. In another embodiment, the protective or supportive device 1200 may be bonded to article 100, 200 using a cold method transfer process. For example, in a cold-peal transfer, heat may be initially applied, but the transfer component 1204 is not removed until the protective or supportive device 1200 has cooled.

[0071] Further, the barrier component 1202 may be transparent or translucent when applied to the substrate of article 100, 200. Alternatively, the barrier component 1202 may be visible as desired, such as imbedded with a decorative design or other useful indicia, such as branding, garment care instructions, or artwork.

[0072] Protective or supportive device 1200 can be any suitable size, shape, and configuration as is known in the art for providing ample coverage for articles 100, 200 needing protection from wear without affecting the overall concept of the invention. One of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the shape and size of protective or supportive device 1200 as shown in FIG. 12, and protective or supportive devices shown in the previous Figures, are for illustrative purposes only and many other shapes and sizes of protective or supportive device 1200 are well within the scope of the present disclosure. Although the shape and dimensions of protective or supportive device 1200 (i.e., length and width) are important design parameters for good performance, protective or supportive device 1200 may be any shape or size that ensures optimal performance during use.

[0073] Alternatively, as illustrated in FIG. 13, a protective or supportive device 1300 may be in the form of a heat transfer label comprised of a paper sheet or web 1302, a wax release layer 1304 affixed to the paper sheet 1302, and a barrier component 1306 comprised of an ink design layer printed on the wax release layer 1304. In the heat-transfer labelling process, the label-carrying web 1302 is subjected to heat, and the protective device 1300 is pressed onto article 100, 200 with the barrier component 1306 making direct contact with the article 100, 200.

[0074] As the paper sheet 1302 is subjected to heat, the wax release layer 1304 begins to melt. This enables the paper sheet 1302 to be released from the barrier component 1306, with a portion of the wax release layer 1304 being transferred with the barrier component 1306 onto the article 100, 200 and with a portion of the wax release layer 1304 remaining with the paper sheet 1302. After transfer of the barrier component 1306 to the article 100, 200, the paper sheet 1302 is immediately removed, leaving the barrier component 1306 with the design firmly affixed to the article 100, 200 and the wax transferred therewith exposed to the environment. The wax release layer 1304 is thus intended to serve two purposes: (1) to provide release of the barrier component 1306 from the paper web 1302 upon application of heat to the paper web 1302 and (2) to form a further protective layer over the transferred barrier component 1306.

[0075] Additionally, in some such embodiments of the present invention, the ink for the protective or supportive device may be color matched to the underlying fabric that receives the protective or supportive device, for example blue ink on the protective or supportive device that matches the blue denim of a pair of jeans. In such embodiments, the protective or supportive device may be coupled to or infused into the fabric in such a manner as to be substantially transparent or otherwise unseen on regular visual inspection. In other exemplary embodiments, the protective or supportive devices may use ink or inks of a certain color that contrast with the color of the underlying fabrics so as to create visual distinctions between the heat transfer and fabric, designate spots of enhanced durability, provide designs, or for any other desired reason.

[0076] In addition to the various inks referenced above, the ink may also be a plastisol, such as a suspension of PVC or other non-water soluble polymer particles in a liquid plasticizer that is capable of flowing like a liquid when heated. These types of ink material are ideal for screen printing application, and cure with heat to form a coating bonded to the surface of the fabric. Stabilizer additives may also be added to resist degradation from light, chemical, or mechanical stress. Alternatively, acrysol water-based inks may be employed when the application benefits from the ink integrating directly into the substrate to form an integrated barrier.

[0077] FIG. 14 illustrates a flow chart of one embodiment of a method 1400 of applying the protective or supportive device of the present invention to a substrate. For example, a protective or supportive device can be provided with a barrier component and a removable transfer component. In order to attach the protective or supportive device to a substrate, in one embodiment, the transfer component is removed from the protective or supportive device to expose the barrier component, as shown in block 1402. According to the illustrated embodiment, the barrier component is then positioned over the desired portion of the substrate, as shown in block 1404. Finally, as shown in block 1406, heat and/or pressure can be applied to the barrier component to bond it to, or infuse it in, the substrate. In some embodiments, the barrier component is bonded to, or infused in, the fabric of an article of clothing. For example, the barrier component may bond to the exterior of the fabric, or infuse itself into said fabric to create a bond therewith.

[0078] The protective or supportive devices disclosed herein, whether infused into the fabric or coupled to the surface of the applied-to fabric, will then create an anti-abrasion area where the protective or supportive devices are employed that are high strength and decrease wear and tear, such as ripping or the formation of holes, for clothing with superior longevity than that of the fabric alone. Further, depending on the particular application, the protective or supportive devices can provide varying levels of liquid resistance. Additionally, the formation of the protective or supportive devices described herein may not negatively impact the flexibility, comfort, wash-ability, appearance, and general utility of the clothing articles (or any other articles) to which they are applied. Further, the protective or supportive devices may be applied in a cost-effective manner that does not significantly increase the cost of the articles, such as clothing articles, onto which the protective or supportive devices are applied. Additionally, in other exemplary embodiments, the protective or supportive devices may be applied to articles, such as articles of clothing, after their manufacture, for example on an individual basis.

[0079] The foregoing description and accompanying figures illustrate the principles, preferred embodiments and modes of operation of the invention. However, the invention should not be construed as being limited to the particular embodiments discussed above. Additional variations of the embodiments discussed above will be appreciated by those skilled in the art (for example, features associated with certain configurations of the invention may instead be associated with any other configurations of the invention, as desired).

[0080] Therefore, the above-described embodiments should be regarded as illustrative rather than restrictive. Accordingly, it should be appreciated that variations to those embodiments can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the following claims.