US Class2/306Supporting to hose only
Attorney, Agent or Firm
International ClassA41F 19/00
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates generally to garters adapted to be worn on a limb of a human being and more particularly to a garter having an elastic closed-loop base support, a pouch for supporting auxiliary items and at least one support or connecting strap having an upper edge secured to the support base and a lower edge secured to the pouch for suspending the pouch from the support base.
2. Description of the Relevant Art
Garters are well-known and are typically of closed-loop configuration and elastic in nature, but may also be elongated straps with closures at opposite ends so the strap can be formed into a closed loop for placement around a limb of the individual wearing the garter. Garters are typically "frilly" in appearance and may be decorated, for example, with a lace material.
Garters have been used for numerous purposes, such as to retain the sleeve of one's shirt in a partially elevated position, for supporting other items such as stockings or socks, and may for example include internal pockets such as, for example, to enclose money, condoms, or other items personal to the individual wearing the garter. The garters are worn on the limb of an individual, such as an arm or leg, and may or may not be confined beneath articles of clothing.
Some garters include attached pouches for carrying auxiliary items such as cigarettes, for example, with an example of such disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 1,494,505. As will be appreciated, however, if a rigid article, such as a liquid container, is attached to a flexible and elastic band, the contrasting natures of the materials from which the rigid article and elastic band are made make them an awkward combination. For example, if the elastic support base conforms to the configuration of the liquid container, the support base is not desirably contoured for positively gripping the limb of the individual wearing the garter. To remedy such a problem, a device disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,974,762 attaches the pouch to a support base only along a central portion of the pouch so the rigid liquid container and the pouch within which it is seated can protrude away from the elastic support base, and the support base can retain its substantially circular configuration for gripping the limb of the individual wearing the garter. If the pouch were secured along its entire width to the flexible and elastic support base, the rigid liquid container once positioned within the pouch would distort the otherwise natural circular configuration of the support base as it is positioned on the limb of the individual so the support base would not retain its position on the limb.
Retaining the position of a garter on the limb of an individual wearing the garter has been addressed in other items such as disclosed in U.S. Patent Application No. US2002/0165495, filed May 3, 2001, by putting a relatively high-friction material on the inner surface of the band, which engages the individual's limb. At any rate, maintaining the position of a garter on the limb of an individual has always been an issue and when attaching an auxiliary item to the elastic support base, particularly when the auxiliary item is rigid and non-conforming in configuration to the circular elastic support base, maintaining the position of the garter on the limb is compounded.
It is to address the shortcomings in prior art garters, and particularly those that support auxiliary items, that the present invention has been developed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The garter of the present invention includes a closed-loop support base that is preferably elastic in nature and an interconnected pouch in which auxiliary items can be placed. The support base and the pouch are interconnected by at least one flexible support or connecting strap. The support strap is secured along an upper marginal zone to the support base of the garter and along a lower marginal zone to the pouch so the pouch is independently movable relative to the support base and is connected to the support base along less than its entire width.
In the disclosed embodiment, the pouch has an open top so the pouch slidably receives an auxiliary item, such as a flask, which is rigid in nature, and while some flasks are arcuate in cross-section, the arc is usually greater than the arc defined by the closed-loop support base so that when the pouch has a flask positioned therein, it might protrude away from the support base due to its different arcuate configuration. Further, supporting the pouch from the support base with one or more flexible support straps that in combination have a width less than the width of the pouch, facilitates attachment of the pouch to the base. Attaching a fixed-width pouch to an elastic base over the full width of the pouch is difficult, particularly when sewn and securing a fixed-width item to a stretchable item over a relatively large area diminishes the elastic capabilities of the support base and its ability to grip the individual's limb on which the garter is mounted.
Other aspects, features, and details of the present invention can be more completely understood by reference to the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment, taken in conjunction with the drawings, and from the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an isometric of the garter of the invention.
FIG. 2 is an isometric of the garter of FIG. 1 with a flask in the pouch and a human leg shown in dashed lines on which the garter is received.
FIG. 3 is a section taken along line 3-3 of FIG. 1.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
The garter 10 of the present invention is adapted to be releasably supported on a limb 12 (FIG. 2) of an individual, such as an arm or leg, and has provisions for supporting auxiliary items such as a flask 14. The garter includes an elastic closed-loop support base 16, an open-topped pouch 18 in which a flask or the like can be removably seated, and a pair of flexible support straps 20 interconnecting the support base with the pouch for freely suspending the pouch from the support base.
The elastic support base 16 in the preferred embodiment of the invention is a closed loop, which could be formed from an inner core strip 22 of conventional elastic material having its ends sewn together to define the closed loop, and a gathered layer 24 of decorative fabric encompassing the elastic band along its entire circumference. An outer layer of lace-type material (not shown) might be secured to the gathered fabric for further aesthetics. The aesthetics of the support base could be as desired and therefore numerous finishes are possible. The circumference of the elastic support base is dimensioned to grip an arm or a leg of an individual wearing the garter with a pressure adapted to hold the garter in a releasably fixed position on the limb.
The pouch 18 in the disclosed embodiment is an open-topped pouch of generally flat, ovular, cross-sectional configuration so as to define a front wall 26, a substantially parallel rear wall 28, side walls 30, and a bottom wall 32. The pouch may be made of one or more different sheets of material that are appropriately sewn together to define the walls of the pouch. While the top 34 of the pouch is preferably open so as to slidably and removably receive an auxiliary item such as flask 14 or the like, it could have a closure flap (not shown). The pouch is preferably made of a flexible fabric material, which would conform with the fixed configuration of the flask, or other such article, when the flask is inserted into the pouch as flasks are typically of a fixed and rigid nature so as to define a constant configuration to which the pouch can conform.
The support straps 20 are identical and of rectangular configuration so as to define upper 36 and lower 38 marginal zones and side edges 40 with the straps being spaced from each other and having a combined width substantially less than the width of the pouch. The upper marginal zones of the straps are secured to the support base 16 at spaced locations as with stitching 42 (or other suitable means) and the lower marginal zones are secured to the rear wall 28 of the pouch at spaced locations also with stitching (or other suitable means). While the lower end of each support strap could be sewn within the interior of the pouch, in the preferred embodiment it is sewn to the exterior surface 44 of the rear wall. Similarly, the upper end of each strap is preferably sewn to an exterior surface 46 of the support base to avoid irritating the skin of the user. The support straps are preferably made of a flexible fabric material with enough strength to support the pouch in a flexible but predetermined relationship relative to the support base so that while the pouch and support base can move relative to each other, the pouch remains closely adjacent to the support base. For that reason, the support strips are preferably non-elastic and cannot be easily stretched. Preferably, the top of the pouch is even with or slightly below the bottom edge of the support base. Since the straps are of a relatively narrow width, for example, one inch, they can be easily sewn to the elastic support base and due to their flexible nature, will conform to the arcuate configuration of the support base when it is mounted on the limb of the individual regardless of whether or not a flask or the like is positioned within the pouch. The flexible nature of the support straps can conform at an upper end to the elastic support base and at their lower end to the variable configuration of the pouch depending on the shape of the article positioned in the pouch.
Pursuant to the above, it will be appreciated that even if a flask 14 is positioned within the pouch, and the flask while possibly being of arcuate transverse cross-section, does not have as much curvature as the elastic support base, the support straps 20 will accommodate the different configurations of the support base and the pouch to which they are connected without compromising the frictional grip of the elastic support base on the individual's limb.
Although the present invention has been described with a certain degree of particularity, it is understood the disclosure has been made by way of example, and changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.