The invention concerns lingerie articles comprising at least a
moulded region to create a retaining and supporting volume of at
least a curved part of the human body, made from a tubular knitted
fabric (1) formed with a first extensible and thermoformable material,
provided with a ribbing (2) which forms one of the edges of said
article elastically enclosing the body, the final shape of the article
being produced by cuts performed in the tubular knitted fabric from
the free end opposite the ribbing. The invention is characterized
in that each moulded volume region is lined by internal bonding
of a least a lining (9) consisting of a second extensible heat-activated
material whereof one surface is coated with an adhesive material
capable of being heat-activated, the materials of the knitted fabric
and of the lining having either thermoformed or elastic percent
elongation, and the adhesive having an activating temperature such
that they enable deformation induced by hot moulding of the moulded
regions to provide them with volume without affecting the heat-bonded
linkage, said first (1) and second (9) materials preserving their
supporting and retaining capacity after moulding.
What is claimed is:
1. A support garment comprising at least one region that is molded
to create a three-dimensional retaining and support area for at
least one protuberant part of a wearer's body, said support garment
being manufactured from a tubular knitted fabric, said fabric being
made from a first extensible and heat-deformable material, said
first material being provided with a ribbing that constitutes a
bottom edge of said support garment to elastically encircle the
body of a wearer, said support garment being defined by a plurality
of cuts made in said tubular knitted fabric, said three-dimensional
area being lined by at least one lining made from a second material,
said second extensible and heat-deformed material having a first
face that is coated with a heat-activatable adhesive, said first
and second materials having a modulus of elongation created by heat
deformation or elastic, said adhesive having an activation temperature
such that it enables deformation to be induced by hot-molding of
said at least one region to impart a three-dimensional aspect to
said at least one region without affecting adhesion between said
first and second materials.
2. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said first and second
materials hold together after molding.
3. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said modulus of elongation
of said first and second materials exhibits a differential therebetween
ranging between 0% and 140%, and wherein each of said first and
second materials has an elongation greater than or equal to 40%.
4. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said first and second
materials are made of a mixture of fibers containing at least 7%
5. The support garment of claim 4 wherein said synthetic fibers
6. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said first and second
materials are made of a combination of polyamide and elastane.
7. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said adhesive material
is a polyamide.
8. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said adhesive material
is a mixture of copolyamides, said copolyamides having an activation
temperature ranging between 165.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.
9. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said adhesive material
is disposed on a face of said second material in the form of dots
laid out in repetitive patterns.
10. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said adhesive material
is a polyurethane adhesive having an activation temperature ranging
between 1851/2 and 195.degree. C.
11. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said adhesive material
is disposed on a face of said second material in the form of a continuous
12. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said support garment
is a brassiere.
13. The support garment of claim 12 wherein said brassiere has
a pair of breast cups with each breast cup being lined with a front
piece, said front piece being molded to the shape of the breasts,
said front piece being attached to said first material by an adhesive
14. The support garment of claim 13 wherein said brassiere has
a center piece of non-extensible fabric inserted between said front
piece and said first material in a region between said pair of breast
15. The support garment of claim 14 wherein said center piece
is coated on one side with said adhesive material for enabling said
center piece to be attached to said first material.
16. The support garment of claim 13 wherein said adhesive material
is the same as that used to attach said front piece and said first
17. The support garment of claim 12 wherein each of said pair
of breast cups has an underwire inserted in a compartment disposed
between said front piece and said first material, said compartment
defining a bottom contour of each of said pair breast cups.
18. The support garment of claim 17 wherein said compartment is
made from a textile tube without stitching, said compartment having
a shape matching that of said underwire, said compartment having
a very high density of threads and sewn to said first material.
19. The support garment of claim 1 wherein said support garment
is a brief, said brief being made from a tubular knitted fabric,
said brief having a ribbing encircling a waist of a body of a wearer,
said brief being reinforced by at least one lining and molded to
a shape of buttocks of the wearer.
20. A method of manufacturing a brassiere from a tubular knitted
fabric having a first extensible and heat-deformable material, the
method comprising: outlining a contour of said brassiere during
knitting of said fabric using a plurality of stitches having different
textures for said contour; bonding an internal lining of a second
extensible and heat-deformable material to a pair of breast cups
of said brassiere by hot-pressing at a temperature ranging between
165.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.; hot-molding said pair of breast
cups at a temperature ranging between 175.degree. C. and 195.degree.
C.; cutting out said brassiere along said contour on said knitted
fabric forming a front portion and a rear portion; and joining said
front and rear portions.
21. The method of manufacturing said brassiere from knitted fabric
of claim 20 wherein said contour of said brassiere is hemmed and
stitched in an elasticating operation.
22. The method of manufacturing said brassiere from said knitted
fabric of claim 20 wherein said knitted fabric is cut on a level
leaving a pair of back tabs, said back tabs being provided with
a closure system.
23. The method of manufacturing said brassiere from said knitted
fabric of claim 20 wherein said lining is a front piece having
a first face attached to said knitted fabric, said first face being
positioned directly opposite to a triangular center piece of a non-extensible
material placed in a region between said pair of breast cups.
24. The method of manufacturing said brassiere from said knitted
fabric of claim 23 wherein said center piece is coated with a layer
of adhesive on a second face that is not attached to said front
25. The method of manufacturing said brassiere from said knitted
fabric of claim 20 wherein said first face of said front piece
has one or more tubes of a non-stitched tubular textile are stitched
thereto, said one or more tubes being provided to accommodate an
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to an item of support lingerie having
at least one molded region to create a retaining and support volume
for at least one protuberant part of the human body.
The articles in question are primarily brassieres and briefs, in
which the cups and the part covering the buttocks respectively may
incorporate substantially mechanical features designed to impart
to them a support function and even to lift the breasts and buttocks
of the users.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Manufacturers in the lingerie sector are constantly faced with
a dual challenge: that of ensuring maximum comfort on the one hand
whilst providing an optimum support and retaining function on the
other. Historically, the problem initially cropped up with brassieres,
whilst the idea of molding and hence supporting the buttocks by
means of the actual structure of the briefs in a manner similar
to that applied to the breasts is a more recent phenomenon.
Traditionally, items of lingerie have been made using cut pieces
which are then sewn together, particularly in the zones intended
to form a three-dimensional capacity, such as the cups of brassieres.
In order to improve wearing comfort, the idea was posited that stitching
should be reduced as far as possible, especially since stitched
seams form extra thicknesses which can be irritating where they
come into contact with the skin. Bonding and even welding techniques
were therefore developed and applied in this field with a view to
reducing or even eliminating the presence of these stitched seams.
Patent document EP 0 809 945 for example, discloses a brassiere
manufactured from a material incorporating heat-weldable fibers,
the various components of the brassiere made from this material
being assembled with one another by heat-welding in order to impart
the final shape to said brassiere.
Although stitching is eliminated, the plurality of welded zones,
particularly in the bottom part of the brassiere surrounding the
bust, nevertheless involves the use of some relief areas which are
elastically supported against the skin and have a perceptible effect
on wearing comfort.
In order to overcome this drawback, brassieres have been developed
in which the periphery is made in a single piece from a tubular
knitted fabric. In reality, these brassieres tend not to have cups
for the breasts and are designed for women with a small chest or
for sporting purposes and compress the breasts rather than support
them. Similarly, briefs made from tubular knitted fabric do not
have any means of supporting or lifting the buttocks, although they
do afford good peripheral compression.
In situations where several pieces are not stitched together to
impart a three-dimensional shape to the cups, it is necessary to
use textile fibers that are both elastic and whose elongation can
be modified in order to provide the support characteristics and
adapt to different bust sizes. For example, heat-deformable fibers
are used to enable the cups or buttock regions to be heat-molded,
thereby imparting a three-dimensional configuration to accommodate
the breasts or buttocks.
However, the ability to mold fibres is not enough on its own because
it is also vital to impart mechanical strength in order to support
and hold these parts of the body. Generally speaking, this mechanical
strength is not needed merely in the region supporting the buttocks
or breasts but also needs to be imparted to the article of lingerie
generally in order to take account of the day-to-day strain to which
different parts of the item are subjected. Accordingly, it is necessary
to preserve a certain degree of strength in the back tabs of a brassiere,
which is also subjected to strain as the bust of the user moves.
Another necessary feature is the ability to withstand washing,
sometimes at a high temperature, which may affect the durability
of the mechanical characteristics of the fibers.
For this reason, it is preferable to provide a fabric lining, at
least in certain zones, this lining naturally also being subject
to the above-mentioned criteria/limitations, especially resistance
and elasticity, whilst it is particularly important for it not to
be secured to the outer fabric by stitching, yet exhibit a capacity
for controlled extension as applicable, etc.
This is essentially the objective of the invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Generally speaking, it relates, as mentioned above, to an item
of support lingerie incorporating at least one region moulded to
create a three-dimensional retaining and support volume for at least
one protuberant part of the human body, manufactured from a tubular
knitted fabric made from a first extensible and heat-deformable
material, provided with a ribbing constituting one of the edges
of said article elastically enclosing the body, the final shape
of the item of lingerie being made by cuts made in the knitted tube
starting from the free edge opposite the ribbing, characterized
in that each molded three-dimensional region is lined by at least
one internally bonded lining made from a second extensible and heat-deformable
material, one face of which is coated with a heat-activatable adhesive,
the knitted fabric and lining materials on the one hand having a
modulus of elongation, either by heat deformation or elastic, and
the adhesive on the other hand having an activation temperature
such that they enable deformation to be induced by hot-moulding
the molded regions to impart a three-dimensional aspect to them
without affecting the heat-bonded join, said first and second materials
conserving their capacity to support and hold after molding.
Not only do the articles proposed by the invention afford maximum
comfort due to the fact of using a knitted tube and bonded seams,
they also exhibit bust supporting properties which enable brassieres
to be made for every chest size, for example, including the largest
requiring E or F size cups.
Whilst the support features are naturally linked to the double
thickness of textile fabric, they are also due primarily to a judicious
choice of materials for both the two layers of textile and for the
adhesive, meeting the imperatives of mechanical strength over time
and in space as well as the problems inherent in manufacture.
Accordingly, it is of vital importance during the heat-forming
process that the two layers of textile react compatibly in terms
of elongation whilst remaining bonded to one another. The same may
be said with regard to the elastic and hence rebound elongation
during day-to-day use of the product.
Tests have shown that the modulus of elongation of the materials
used for the knitted fabric and the lining must exhibit a differential
ranging between 0 and 140% and each fabric must be capable of undergoing
an elongation greater than or equal to 40%. This is the requirement
for good mechanical strength, particularly with regard to molding.
In this respect, elongation is defined as being the percentage elongation
and deformation of the material relative to its non-elongated state,
caused by a linear force of 3N per centimeter.
If the above values are not complied with, there is a risk that
one of the materials will slip relative to the other, thereby rupturing
the adhesive/textile cohesion during molding, which will cause the
two materials to come unstuck.
As regards the criteria for selecting appropriate materials, it
should be pointed out that materials which permit too great an elongation
must be ruled out because although they will permit perfect molding,
they will not provide the subsequent mechanical strength needed
to hold the breasts or buttocks.
In fact, the results of an experiment show that the first and the
second materials should be made of a mixture of fibers containing
at least 7% synthetic fibers. Polyester fibers, in particular, are
Synthetic fibers having a modulus of elongation can be perfectly
mixed with natural fibers such as cotton which are not at all or
not very extensible: it is the links created by the knitting stitches
which permit elongation of the fabric if the extensible fibers are
correctly disposed or aligned in said stitches.
By preference, said first and second materials are made of a mixture
of polyamide and elastane.
This mixture permits suitable elastic elongation and heat-forming
whilst affording a mechanical strength that will impart a proper
stability to the product both over time and in space.
One of the key technical developments of the invention is in fact
the adhesive, without which a lining could not be fixed. The cohesion
of the two textile layers must be maintained under heat during the
molding process, which in principle leads to a definitive stretching
of certain fibers, and when cold when the product is not elastically
stretched. Furthermore, this cohesion must not be altered by successive
washes, even at high temperature.
A large amount of research and numerous tests have shown that the
adhesive material may be selected from among the polyamides or from
polyurethane adhesives. The criterion governing selection is the
activation temperature of the adhesive, which must not in principle
be detrimentally affected by the hot molding operation, conducted
at a temperature of between 175.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.
More specifically, one possibility is to use an adhesive comprising
a mixture of copolyamides whose activation temperature is between
165.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.
If using a polyurethane, the activation temperature will be between
185.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.
Tests on materials with a lower activation temperature, for example
in the order of 140.degree. C. to 150.degree. C., even up to 165.degree.
C., have led to problems due to unsticking because the adhesive
comes apart from the substrates during molding.
Apart from these problems of temperature, the choice of adhesive
material will depend on the capacity of whatever materials are used
to cohere with the textile layers. The chosen copolyamide mixture
as well as polyurethane are effective in this respect.
It should also be pointed out that the adhesive with a copolyamide
base is disposed on one face of the lining in the form of dots laid
out in repetitive patterns. This mode of application has a double
advantage in that it avoids making the lining thicker and it allows
it to retain its breathability. If using a polyurethane adhesive,
which is better suited to a more refined molding process, the adhesive
is disposed on the face of the lining in the form of a continuous
In a preferred application, the invention relates to a brassiere
and is thus made from a tubular knitted fabric provided with a ribbing
forming the bottom skirt enclosing the bust of said brassiere, the
region of the cups being lined with an internally bonded front piece
and molded to the shape of the breasts.
Clearly, by the region of the cups is meant the interior thereof
as well as their immediate periphery and preferably the region linking
The latter also has a center piece, i.e. a triangular piece of
fabric made from a non-extensible material inserted between said
front piece and the knitted fabric in the region between the cups.
This center piece, which stiffens the part located between the breasts,
contributes to the support function by specifically preventing any
horizontal deformation between the breasts.
By preference, one face of said center piece is coated with an
adhesive enabling it to be bonded onto the knitted fabric. Even
more preferably, said adhesive is the same as that used to bond
the front piece and the knitted fabric.
In assembling this stiffening piece, the same benefits apply as
those obtained by lining with the front piece, i.e. no over-thick
stitched seams which can cause irritation, adhesive applied so as
to allow the material to breathe, etc.
In one possible embodiment, the brassiere proposed by the invention
is also designed so that each cup incorporates a reinforcement inserted
in a compartment disposed between the front piece and the knitted
fabric, said compartment bounding the bottom contour of the cup.
More specifically, said compartment is made from a textile tube
without stitched seams, of a shape matching that of the reinforcement,
having a very high density of threads and sewn onto the front piece.
The fact that the support band made as above is sewn onto the bonded
face of the front piece means that the stitching is not visible
from the right side of the product. Consequently, there is less
extra thickness on a level with the support band, due to the lining
proposed by the invention, and the reinforcement is less noticeable
to the user. This design is therefore extremely advantageous because
it significantly increases comfort while providing optimised support
due to the presence of the reinforcement.
In addition to the brassiere, the invention also relates to a method
of manufacturing a brassiere from a tubular knitted fabric constituting
a first extensible and heat-deformable material, provided with a
ribbing forming the bottom skirt of the brassiere, characterized
by the following steps: tracing the upper contours of the brassiere
as the tube is knitted using stitches of a different texture for
said contours; bonding an internal lining of a second extensible
and heat-deformable material in the region of the cups by hot-pressing
at a temperature between 165.degree. C. and 195.degree. C.; hot-molding
the cups at a temperature between 175.degree. C. and 195.degree.
C.; cutting out the brassiere along the outline contours on the
knitted tube; joining front and rear portions of straps as cut.
The brassiere model is therefore designed on the basis of the tube
knitted during the knitting process, which considerably facilitates
the subsequent cutting operations enabling the final shape to be
imparted to the product.
In one possible option, the upper contours of the brassiere are
hemmed and stitched in an elasticating operation. These are essentially
the contours of the straps, the width of which is therefore limited,
conferring a more discrete appearance on said straps.
For practical reasons and to facilitate the manufacturing process,
enabling said steps to be operated flat (bonding, molding), the
basic tube is cut on a level with the back join, back tabs being
added and provided with a hooking system.
In the method proposed by the invention, in order to obtain a product
as described above, the lining is a front piece, of which the face
bonded to the knitted fabric is faced beforehand with a triangular
center piece of a non-extensible material, placed in the region
between the cups. This center piece is itself coated beforehand
with a layer of adhesive on its face that is not bonded to the front
piece. Finally, in the case of reinforced brassieres, an additional
step is integrated in the method, which consists in stitching tubes
of non-stitched tubular textile material against the face of the
lining which is bonded to the knitted fabric, said tubes being provided
in order to accommodate reinforcements delimiting the bottom contour
of the cup.
The present invention does not only apply to brassieres; it additionally
relates to briefs, which are therefore also made from a knitted
tube provided with a ribbing enclosing the waist of the body and
characterized in that the region of the buttocks is reinforced by
at least one internally bonded lining and molded to the shape of
The problems inherent in making briefs are generally the same as
those intrinsic to brassieres, although the mechanical constraints
are a priori not as great.
This being the case, the degree of molding, which is often less
than that required for brassieres with deep cups, requires a localized
lining on a level with the buttocks, which may be selectively applied
during molding, and their immediate periphery.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will now be described in more detail with specific
reference to the appended drawings, of which:
FIG. 1 depicts a perspective view of a knitted tube on which the
outline of a brassiere has been traced;
FIG. 2 shows a front piece to be bonded onto the knitted fabric
illustrated in FIG. 1 on a level with the contour of the cups;
FIG. 3 illustrates the bonding of said front piece in the region
of the cups, on a knitted fabric cut along a direction of the knitted
tube and laid out flat;
FIG. 4 shows a finished brassiere; and
FIG. 5 illustrates a knitted tube on which the outline of a pair
of briefs has been traced.
Turning to FIG. 1 the knitted tube (1) has a ribbing (2) that
will subsequently form the skirt of the brassiere (see FIG. 4),
which is perfectly elastic since it is a knit with a reverse stitch
(false ribbing) made directly by the knitting machine. This enables
the "tension") of the ribbing to be controlled, in other
words, the give of the elasticity.
A specific knit may be used to trace the upper contour of the brassiere
with the cups (3 4), the front parts of the straps (5 6) and their
rear parts (7 8) which practically meet on a level with the ribbing
FIG. 2 illustrates the front piece (9) or lining onto which textile
tubes (10 11) of a low thickness have been stitched, said tubes
(10 11) themselves not being provided with stitching so as to avoid
any additional thickness likely to irritate the skin of the breasts.
These tubes are made from a fine yarn with a very dense mesh to
prevent the reinforcement inserted therein (not illustrated) from
working out through the stitches. A center piece (12), being a piece
of non-extensible material of triangular shape, is bonded onto the
face having the textile tubes (10 11) accommodating the reinforcements,
on a level with the mid-back.
In one option, the knitted fabric is cut at the point at which
the rear straps (7 8) meet and is laid out flat (FIG. 3) for the
purpose of bonding the front piece (9). The latter is bonded so
that the textile tubes (10 11) accommodating the reinforcements
on the one hand and the center piece (12) on the other are disposed
between the front piece (9) and the knitted fabric (1).
Turning to FIG. 4 the finished brassiere has had the edges of
the straps (5 7; 6 8) elasticated, having been joined at (13
14) by any known means. Also, the back tabs (15 16) with means
enabling them to be fixed to one another have been attached to the
knitted fabric (1).
The fixing means may be bonding, welding, stitching, etc.
Finally, FIG. 5 shows a knitted tube (20) on which a knitting stitch
different from the rest of the knitwork (20) outlines the contours
(21) of a pair of briefs. In this case, the ribbing (22) is at the
top and encloses the waist of the user. Depending on the circumstances,
the part located between the legs may also be made from a different
knitting stitch and/or from a different material for reasons pertaining
to hygiene, comfort, etc.
The present invention having been thus described with particular
reference to the preferred forms thereof, it will be obvious that
various modifications may be made therein without departing from
the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined in the