inflatable nap-time hoodie
PROBLEM/AUDIENCE: It is very uncomfortable to try to fall asleep or relax in a hard spot especially when it is a public place. One can get very tired from working too hard, travel, or over exertion and napping is always a great way to re-energize.
PRODUCT SOLUTION: A cool looking hoodie that provides padding on the head/neck, shoulders, and forearms. When sleeping in a seated position, the arms are often used as a pillow for the head, the extra padding provides comfort for the user if they are leaning against a harder and more uncomfortable surface. This hoodie could be used for travel, camping, or when you want to get a quick nap in in a public place.
The hoodie includes 3 sections of tubing (leading to the end of each arm and the hood) that can be inflated and deflated based on the user's preference. The shoulder pads are connected to the forearm pads in each arm through a tube. The hood is two separate pieces that connect together through a larger tube at the base of the neck.
REDESIGN: After some feedback and redesigns, I split the arm inflatables into three separate pieces to allow for more mobility. The large green pocket was moved closer to the center of the chest in order to create more armpit space.
When brainstorming methods to inflate the pieces, I considered hand air pumps and electronic air pumps. However, as I imagine this product used in public spaces such as trains, busses, airports, and planes, I wanted the product to be as compliant to TSA standards as possible. I concluded that the best and safest solution would also be the most obvious; inflating the hoodie with one's mouth (Oral Inflation Valve).
ASSEMBLY PREPARATION: When considering production and daily wear, the inflatable should remain stable within the sweatshirt while also having the ability to be removed from the garment if needed. The inflatables will be attached to a strip of velcro that is sewn in between two layers of fabric to create a makeshift pocket.
NEXT STEPS: Create a pattern and demo the garment on CLO 3D.
model with CLo 3D
I used CLO 3D to help me make a sewing pattern and 3D model the hoodie. I went through a couple concepts and styles of hoods during the 3D modeling phase before landing back on my initial two piece hood.
I am still working on the finer details on the front pocket and inflatable portions, but this part of the project helped me create a sewing pattern for when I physically construct the product.
sewing the product
After creating a sewing pattern through CLO 3D, my next step was to cut out a pattern on paper to transfer it onto fabric. I ordered 2 yards of an olive-colored modal blend knit fabric and 3 yards of a black cotton/poly blend knit fabric. Due to my budget, I could not get the exact color combination I was hoping for; however, I found that the black cotton appeared more charcoal in person, bringing my material closer to that of my original model and sketches.
After finally cutting out my pattern on the fabric, I pinned my pieces together and started working on the hoodie's shirt, waist, and pocket portion. At the same time, I began demo-ing the patterns and dimensions of the inflatable bladders using heat transfer vinyl and parchment paper.
After sewing the shirt pattern, I sewed the sleeves together.
As I wanted the inflatables to sit between two pieces of fabric on the sleeves, I began by sewing the top shoulder section of the sleeve together with the inner lining. I then added one long strip of velcro along the inner lining of the sleeve.
I made the mistake of purchasing sticky velcro. When using the sewing machine to attach the velcro to the sleeves, the glue on the back of the velcro got stuck on the needle, causing it to catch thread along the machine's needle and almost break it. After cleaning off the glue, I decided it was better to hand sew the velcro on the rest of the hoodie. I bent two needles in the lengthy process and vowed never to buy sticky velcro again.
While sewing velcro pieces, I also moved onto the hood. To allow for the inflatable bladder inside the hood to be removable, I made the hood from two inner portions of the black knit and two outer pieces of olive fabric. The bottom pieces of the hood surrounding the back of the neck attach together with velcro pieces, allowing the user to insert and remove the inflatable when necessary. There is room for the inflation valve to stick out closer to the bottom front corner of the hood.
focusing on the inflatables
Materials: Heat transfer vinyl, parchment paper, flexible adhesive, 1/4" latex tubing, inflation valves
I ordered 8 feet of heat transfer vinyl on amazon and found I had just enough for this time. I may order more later when I want to prototype the inflatables further. I went to Ace hardware for 3 feet of latex tubing and the flexible adhesive. Individual inflation valves were quite difficult to find, and in the end, I had to order children's swim floaties from amazon and cut the valves out of the floaties.
I switched from my original circular pattern to a more linear, maze-like design for the inflatables. After prototyping multiple inflatable bladders, I moved on to attaching them together through the latex tubing with the flexible adhesive. This step took time as the adhesive took two hours to solidify per attachment session. Now all I had to do was wait...