This application claims benefit under 35 U.S.C. .sctn. 119 of U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/947,389 filed Jun. 29, 2007, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to devices for securing shoulder straps in place, and more specifically, to a shoulder strap fastener with convenient and comfortable releasable fastening assembly for securing the shoulder straps of a shoulder strap garment in place, preventing their lateral displacement.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Many garments, such as suspenders and overalls, are held up by shoulder straps which loop over respective right and left shoulders of the wearer between front and rear waist attachment locations. These suspenders that hold a wearer's pants at waist level typically have a pair of straps that hang over the wearer's shoulders and connect to the pants at three or four points using fasteners. Suspenders or straps are often used with outer pants that are worn over trousers, such as farmer's pants, ski pants, fireman's pants, waders, and rain pants. Suspenders are useful to hold up the outer pants because the overgarments extend well above the waist of the wearer, making a belt uncomfortable or even useless.
Overalls similarly have a pair of shoulder straps that hold up the pants portion of the garment.
A recurring problem for wearers of suspenders and overalls is keeping the shoulder straps disposed on the shoulders. During normal wear the shoulder straps often slip from the shoulders causing discomfort and annoyance for the wearer, as well as loss of garment support.
As a result of imperfect fit of the garment and straps, the wearer's activity or the wearer's body type and other factors, the straps have a tendency to fall off the shoulders with a resulting loss of garment support.
Various means have been employed in attempting to eliminate this potential hazard. These include twisting the shoulder straps together, having one strap pass through a slot in the second strap, having the garment extend toward the shoulders in the rear such that the straps are shorter in length, sewing the straps together in an X configuration, or tying them with a piece of string, shoelace, or other material. These attempts cause one or more problems including limitations on fit, ease of dressing, etc.
These prior art suspenders and overalls devices for attachment to shoulder straps provide some utility toward resolving problems of slippage of suspenders shoulder straps. However, they do not provide a functional construction that is comfortable to a wearer and easy to use.
Therefore, it is desirable to have a means for securing the shoulder straps of a garment in place by an adaptable, convenient and inexpensive strap device that can be applied after dressing.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A shoulder strap fastener for use on two shoulder straps on a garment, comprising an elongated elastic material strip having a length longer than a width of garment shoulder straps with which the fastener is intended to be used. A first fastener member is affixed at one end of the material strip, and a second fastener member is affixed at a second end of the material strip, whereby said first and second fasteners provide a positive lock to fasten said elastic strip material between two shoulder straps on a garment.
As such, the present invention provides a bib overall strap made of an elastic material with two suspender clips or similar release-fastening members attached by sewing, adhesive or other convenient means which permit the shoulder strap fastener to secure the shoulder straps of a garment, such as a farmer or fireman, and preventing the lateral displacement and loss of garment support.
The shoulder strap fastener is typically an elastic strip of about 4-6 inches length with an ornamental feature provided to enhance the appearance of the overall strap assembly.
In use each clip of the shoulder strap fastener is clipped to a respective shoulder strap resulting in the shoulder straps being restrained from slipping off the shoulders. The overall clip or similar fastener and adjustable web imparts adjustability in how closely the shoulder straps are held together, accommodating various fits and sizes, and further prevents slippage of the shoulder strap fastener along the shoulder straps.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
The invention will be more fully understood from the following solely exemplary detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is an illustration of the invention in use on overalls being worn by an adult; and
FIG. 2 is an illustration of the invention with the clips shown in the closed position.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged close up of the shoulder strap fastener with the clips shown in the open position ready for use.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
The present invention contemplates a shoulder strap fastener which is intended for use to secure the shoulder straps typically of an adults strapped garment in position so as to prevent their accidental or intentional displacement over a shoulder.
The invention is illustrated in use in FIG. 1 in which an individual 1, who may be an adult a child or infant, is wearing an overall or a pair of pants (not shown) to which a pair of shoulder straps 2 and 4, shown at the rear of the individual 1, circle over respective shoulders 6 and 8 and join front portions of the overalls or pants (not shown) so as to hold the overalls or pants in place.
As often happens in work or social applications for adult garments, the straps 2 and/or 4 may fall off the shoulders 6 and/or 8 by accident or intent. For children or infants, they may be unable or unwilling to restore the straps 2, 4 to the normal position. In the case of adult wearers, the repeated loss of one or more straps from the shoulder area can become a distracting nuisance/hazard particularly in work or social activities requiring continuous use of both hands.
A shoulder strap fastener 10 according to the present invention is attached onto the shoulder straps 2, 4 preventing lateral displacement of the straps 2, 4 over the shoulders 6, 8. With additional reference to FIG. 2 the shoulder strap fastener 10, in order to achieve the object of this invention, comprises first and second fastening members 12 and 14 affixed to a body portion or material strip 20. In the view of FIG. 1 the fastening members 12, 14 are illustrated as permanently fixed to the strip 20 thus holding the shoulder strap fastener 10 in position without sliding up or down the shoulder straps and while keeping the shoulder straps 2, 4 from displacement over the shoulders.
The specific fastener members 12, 14 are illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 to include the wire retention members 15a, 15b that affix the fastener members 12, 14 to the material strip 20 by wrapping the ends 16a, 16b of the material strip 20 around each wire retention member 15a, 15b, then fixing the same in place by sewing or stitching 18. See FIG. 3. The fasteners 12, 14 comprise similar mechanical features including the bottom toothed jaw member 14a, top toothed jaw member 14b, and the engagement lever 14c. The bottom toothed jaw member 14a includes teeth ti that mate with teeth t2 on the top toothed jaw member 14b. There is a resilient interface between the top and bottom jaw members 14b, 14a. The engagement lever 14c works against the resilient interface to force the top and bottom jaw members 14b, 1 4a together, and the engagement lever is designed to lock the fastener member 14 in the lock position shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 such that the fastener members 12, 14 are positively locked onto the shoulder straps and a user must overcome a positive locking force provided by the engagement lever 14c. The structure and function of the fasteners 12, 14 are the same and provide a positive, releasable lock of the fasteners 12, 14 and the material strip 20 onto the shoulder straps 2, 4 as shown in FIG. 1.
It is additionally beneficial that the fasteners 12, 14 are releasable from each of the shoulder straps 2, 4 Since it is the primary object of the invention that the shoulder straps 2, 4 be securely held in place, the use of releasable but secure fasteners are necessary to hold the shoulder strap fastener 10 in position and prevents it from sliding toward the pants where it would tend to be less effective.
Releasable fasteners 12, 14 are attached to body portion or material strip 20 preferably by sewing, but they may be affixed by adhesive or any other convenient means. The material 20 is typically a stretchable and elastic material in order to provide a resilient strap 20 that retains its shape as illustrated but that provides a degree of comfort due to its elastic nature. The dimensions of the strap are defined solely by the function which it is to perform and sizes may vary depending upon the size of the overall or pant garment to which it is to be associated.
The shoulder strap fastener 10 can be easily removed and used with other garments, not necessarily requiring washing between uses. It nevertheless is susceptible to easy and safe washing when desired. The strap fastener 10 thus provides a convenient aftermarket item which may be alternately applied to different garments in the user's wardrobe.
The shoulder strap fastener is disclosed in use on an adult's overalls, it being understood that such illustration merely exemplifies the utility of the strap to secure an adult's shoulder straps and that the shoulder strap fastener is not limited to this application. The shoulder strap fastener may be used to secure the straps of any garment which has shoulder straps.
Additionally, the material strip 20 may be provided with an advertisement or ornamental feature, such as the colors of a flag, a picture, a company logo, etc. to enhance the appearance of the article and perhaps provide advertising opportunities for the article.
It will be understood that all matter herein described or shown in the accompanying drawing is to be interpreted as illustrative only and is not to limit the invention. The foregoing description is provided as an example but the instant invention should be interpreted with a spirit and scope appreciated by one of skill in the art without limitation to the illustrated embodiments.