Sara Blakely and Spanx
One night, Sara Blakely cut off the bottom of her pantyhose and the idea of Spanx was born. Armed with $5,000 in savings, Blakely researched and wrote her patent for footless pantyhose and drove around North Carolina begging mill owners to make her product. Most told her it would never sell, but one owner decided to take a chance and help her make her “crazy idea.”
Note US 6,463,765 with abstract
A pantyhose garment is provided that has relatively sheer leg portions that end with knitted-in welts just below or above the knees, and a reinforced control top portion having good shaping and control characteristics that terminates at the top of the waist region with a knitted-in welt. The pantyhose under garment provides the user with shaping support, and because the lower leg is bare, it gives the user the freedom to wear any type of shoe (i.e., open-toed shoes, sandals, etc.). Pantyhose worn with open-toed shoes are usually undesirable, and also dangerous because the foot may slip in the shoe due to the lack of friction between the pantyhose and the shoe. In addition, there are many occasions when the user wants a more casual look in clothing, and therefore pantyhose on the foot and ankle would not be desired. The reinforced control top portion extends down the leg portions of the pantyhose far enough to provide support over the "saddlebag" and cellulite regions of the body. The knitted-in welt at the waist region blends into the control top without causing waist constriction. Similarly, the knitted-in welts at the ends of the leg portions blend into the leg portions without causing leg constriction. The overall design provides the user with a smooth, tight appearance when worn under clothing, without causing the user to suffer discomfort
and first claim
An undergarment comprising: a waistband having a knitted-in welt; a control top portion knitted to the waistband, the control top portion including a panty portion having panty legs that extend partway down the thighs of a person wearing the undergarment; and leg portions knitted to the panty legs of the control top portion, wherein each leg portion terminates at a lower end thereof with a knitted-in welt for snugly fitting about the leg of a person wearing the undergarment, and the leg portions are knit to be of a substantially thinner fabric than the control top.
Also U.S. Pat. No. 6,276,176.