->''"If you want to destroy my sweater\\
Hold this thread as I walk away\\
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked\\
Lying on the floor (lying on the floor)\\
I've come undone."''
-->-- '''Music/{{Weezer}}''', "Undone (The Sweater Song)"

It's a law of cartoon physics (occasionally crossing over into live-action) that anything made of cloth can unravel into a single thread as though it were knitted like a sweater. Obviously more realistic ([[MST3KMantra if you care about that kind of thing]]) when it involves an actual sweater, but even then unraveling a sweater typically isn't as easy as pulling on a random loose thread.

A variation of this trope concerns undoing a [[{{mummy}} mummy's]] wrapping this way, usually causing the mummy to spin. Of course, this has the same problem in that a mummy isn't covered by one single long wrapping any more than a shirt is made of one single thread.

In especially cartoonish examples, this [[FurIsClothing also applies to an animal's fur or feathers]].

Related to ClothingDamage and TheNudifier. Compare StrippingSnag when a piece of clothing gets stuck somewhere and is subsequent ripped off. Only metaphorically related to PullTheThread. Occasionally combined with GivingThemTheStrip.


* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFaNMQ_zxoM&feature=related This]] ad for back-to-school clothes.A strand of a girl's red dress gets caught in the doors of a school bus, unravelling the entire dress, leaving the girl [[FullyClothedNudity covering her undergarments in embarrassment]].
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJssoL8sR1E This]] '90s ad for Martini vermouth, featuring a young Creator/CharlizeTheron.The dress of Theron's character begins to get unravelled, revealing her naked bottom. Unfortunately, the ad ends before more can be shown.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xy69qcnLgrM This]] ad for Kit Kat ice cream bars. A threads from a lady's dress gets caught in a taxi door, unravelling the dress as the taxi drives away, and revealing her white bra and panties. However, given that the day seems especially hot, the lady does not mind it, and perhaps even welcomes such relief.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''{{Manga/Change 123}}'', Hibiki [[OffBridgeOntoVehicle leaps off a bridge]] [[OutsideRide onto a truck]]. A thread from her sweater gets caught on the bridge railing, unraveling her entire sweater. Later becomes an awkward moment when her [[SplitPersonality primary persona]] opens her coat...
* In ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' a series of [[HilarityEnsues bizarre and improbable events]] results in Haibara's sweater unraveling until she's down to her underwear, while trapped in a freezing cold delivery truck.
* ''Manga/DoctorSlump''. In the anime adaptation of ''The Story of Donbe'', Aoi Kimidori is seen talking to Kurikinton Soramame when [[ThePrankster Donbei]] ties a thread of her dress to a car which took off and unraveled her dress in front of him causing her to get embarrassed and slap Kurikinton.
* In ''Manga/GirlGotGame'', after [[ButtMonkey Hamaya]]'s clothes get torn, the loose threads get caught and eventually unravel entirely, leaving him completely [[NakedPeopleAreFunny naked]] (though he seems baffled as to how his underwear got caught up in it too).
* In ''Anime/KillLaKill'', Nui Harime [[spoiler:manages to easily defeat Sanageyama by severing his Goku Uniform's Banshi, a Life Fiber that has been imbued with the will to become clothing.]] One of the few examples of actually weaponizing this trope.
* Happens to Chisame in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'', while onstage at a cosplay contest. Negi and Kotarô end up pulling the threads in her costume without realizing what it is, causing the costume to fall off and leaving Chisame in only her underwear. The crowd naturally starts cheering. It is, however, a ''little'' bit better in that her costume isn't reduced to a single string. It's that that particular string was keeping all the pieces of the costume together. But still...
* ''Manga/MaicchinguMachikoSensei'' is one of the first {{ecchi}} series where the main character always found herself disrobed. Many times, it was due to a single thread being yanked from her sweater. One gratuitous example was an episode in which no {{Fanservice}} was provided until the last thirty seconds or so of the episode... where she goes ice-skating, her student pulls a thread and slides her across the ice, revealing her breasts.
** Said sweater gag was used in the first live action movie Machiko's crochet-like sweater gets a single thread snagged while at home, and by the time she makes the full run to her classroom, her shirt is gone.
* An episode of ''Anime/MajokkoMegChan'' has a BrainwashedAndCrazy Rabi does this to a random woman.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* This is a common gag in ''ComicBook/MortadeloYFilemon''.
** Generally, they'll start pulling the thread into a ball, but the thread belongs to a buff man's sweater or something. The owner of the garment will hit them (usually [[ButtMonkey Filemón]]) for ruining his clothing.
** If the mummy wrapping variation counts, they do that sometimes, too.
* Happens to ComicBook/LittleAudrey at the end of one short story. She walks on oblivious as her panties are on display.
* This is the very first thing that happens to poor ComicBook/SpiderMan after the entire ''ComicBook/SuperiorSpiderMan'' debacle, when he tackles three female criminals, one of them being able to control threads. He's forced to don web undies and has the entire incident shown off across New York. It gets worse when it turns out the web formula is a little ''too strong''.
* The old comic "G.I. Joe" (no consufed with the most famous [[Franchise/GIJoe Hasbro's franchise]]) feature the character (created by Dan De Carlo) Wendy the Waf, a blonde militar girl. In a story, "Eyes Right", she model for a new Waf uniform that is wrapped in a blade of a plane reducing the uniform to a mini-skirt.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}''
** Used in an early [[{{Pun}} strip]]. Garfield only pulls on a thread from Jon's pants, but the shirt somehow unravels, too. That's because Jon was wearing thermal underwear (and only that).
** Another early ''Garfield'' shows the cat tying a loose end to a post and running to unravel his way out of a HomemadeSweaterFromHell.
** Implied in another strip, where Garfield gives Jon a ball of yarn.
--->'''Jon:''' You know, I have a sweater this exact same color!\\
'''Garfield:''' Not anymore.
** In yet another strip, Garfield slucks on a bowl of spaghetti, only to mistakenly unwind Jon's sweater instead.
* In the comic strip adaptation of ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'', Betty asks how Wilma knows her dress is unraveling. Wilma replies that the man following them is a string collector, and he has accumulated a very large ball of string.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', Jafar magically unravels the MagicCarpet into a purple string, even though it's multiple colors with purple as the base. Literal case of AWizardDidIt. This is also an example of a ConspicuouslyLightPatch. When the carpet was together, it was created with a combination of traditional animation and digital mapping. Unraveled, it was only traditional animation, so it was reduced to a single solid color.
* Happens in ''[[WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones The Man Called Flintstone]]'' when Barney Rubble tries to use Fred's tie to get down a 100-foot drop from a prison cell window. The entire tie unravels into a single thread as Barney tried to climb back up it.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the film ''Film/MouseHunt'', Lee Evans's character is stripped by a string factory when he damages the machine's fuse box. For anyone curious, see [[http://www.knittingtipsbyjudy.com/cel2.html here]] for how it was done.
* In Creator/LaurelAndHardy's ''Film/WayOutWest'', Stan is helping Ollie get a locket off his neck Stan starts pulling at a loose thread and soon unravels most of Ollie's underwear.
* In ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', the mummy version happens when Rocky is unwrapped.
* The 1992 comedy ''Film/TheNuttHouse'' has a scene where a woman has her dress unraveled in this manner.
* The kids of ''Film/TheMonsterSquad'' dispose of The Mummy using this method.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', the Joker sticks a grenade into a prone bank employee's mouth. The guy can only watch helplessly as Joker strolls away to his getaway vehicle, trailing an unravelling thread from his jacket, which pulls the grenade pin once it gets slammed in the door. [[spoiler:It was just a smoke grenade. The guy is not amused.]]
* ''Film/{{Sunnyside}}'': Part of Creator/CharlieChaplin's pathetic effort to imitate the rich city chap includes donning thick woolen socks, to imitate the city chap's fancy spats. One of the townspeople notices a loose thread hanging from Charlie's sock and grabs it. Charlie's entire sock unravels.
* Happens to the main character Josefine in the end of "Should a Schoolgirl Tell". A strand of cloth gets caught in a chair, unravelling her skirt. She walks on obliviously while flashing her panties.
* The ''Homer Price'' story "[[ Mystery Yarn]]" has a woman mysteriously beat two men to become World's Champion String Saver, even though her ball of string was smaller. [[spoiler:The story doesn't explain, but astute readers will notice that when she starts unrolling it, she's wearing a "robin's egg-blue dress with the pink trim at the bottom", which is later described as a "robin's-egg-blue blouse with the pink skirt" and finally a "dress with the robin's-egg-blue trim at the neck".]]
* In Creator/ShirleyJackson's very slightly autobiographical book ''Literature/RaisingDemons'', on a family trip to New York, 6-year-old Sally ties the loose thread of her knitted hat to a seat in the train before getting off: "I'd like to see ''that'' train get away," she says. Things don't get really challenging until the hotel turns out to have a revolving door.
* In the ''Literature/{{Mahabharata}}'', Yuddhisthra has lost ''everything'' in a dice game against his brother-in-law Duryodhana. Including his (and his brothers') wife Draupadi. Duryodhana and Karna want to "put Draupadi in her place" for scorning them, so they [[AttemptedRape try to rape her]] in front of their court (and her now-defeated husbands). She prays to Krishna for help, and since she had once bandaged a wound on his finger using a piece of her sari, he returns the favor: as Dushasana pulls on her sari, it's extended until the Kauravas just give up and stop.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'' episode "Wizards vs. Werewolves" includes the mummy variation.
* It happens to Turbo's poncho in ''Series/LiftOff''. Unlike other examples, however, they are able to get Ricardo to repair it before too much damage is done.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Bewitched}}'', Samantha Stephens used this trope to get revenge on a RichBitch (part of the same episode described on the ItsACostumePartyISwear page, incidentally).
* One recurring sketch by Armstrong and Miller involves an accident-prone presenter who continually ends up destroying priceless historical artifacts. Guess what happens in the one where there's a centuries-old tapestry.
* In a ''Series/ChildrensHospital'' episode, a nurse has her uniform scrubs stripped off in this manner.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "The Space Museum," the titular museum is labyrinthine enough that Ian unwinds Barbara's cardigan in order to use the wool à la Theseus. To be fair, he is shown to have some trouble starting the sweater's disassembly, and Barbara has to take it from him and pick open a starting point; but after that it's just treated as a ball of yarn with a long single thread (which, as usual with string in a labyrinth, runs out too soon).
** At the beginning of the Doctor's fourth regeneration, the Fifth Doctor completely unravels his [[Creator/TomBaker previous incarnation's]] [[ScarfOfAsskicking scarf]] while wandering about the TARDIS hallways searching for the Zero room, presumably so he could find his way back to the console room.
* In a (possibly ad-libbed) bit from the opening of one episode of ''Series/TheSonnyAndCherShow'', Cher finds a stray thread on her dress and quips that it's held together by three threads, so stay tuned to see whether she finds the two others!
* Happens in ''Series/TheLucyShow'' when a thread from Lucy's dress gets snagged as she exits an elevator.
* In [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs98gxd9a9w&ab_channel=RutherfordBHayes an episode]] of the German TV show ''Berlin Berlin'', 2 girls sneak into a nightclub with one of them wearing a crochet skirt. In the process, the skirt gets caught in a window and the obvious happens.
* ''Series/{{Qi}}'' featured an un-knitting machine invented by Imogen Hedges, on the 'K' season Christmas episode, "Kris Kringle". The machine unravelled a scarf that Alan Davies was wearing and wound the yarn back up into a ball.

[[folder: Music]]
* The video for Korn's ''Coming Undone'' has the whole band - instruments and all - [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSJXle3LP_Q&t=2m35s go through this with the aid of CGI]]. At first, it's just the fingers on Jonathan Davis' right hand but, by the end of the song, all four of them (at the time; Brian "Head" Welch hadn't returned to the band yet) are just a haphazard pile of vanishing ribbons on the ground.
-->''I'm... trying to hold it together!\\
Head is lighter than a feather!\\
Looks like I'm not gettin' better!

[[folder: Radio]]
* ''Radio/OurMissBrooks'': In "Friday The Thirteenth", Miss Brooks ends up tearing off a lapel on Mr. Conklin's new suit by merely pulling on a loose thread.

[[folder: Tabletop Games]]
* This is the standard method of defeating a mummy in ''TabletopGame/{{Toon}}''. What you find once the bandages are completely unravelled is up to the [[GameMaster Animator]], but, as always in ''Toon'', RuleOfFunny applies.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/KirbysEpicYarn'', the entire world is made of cloth and fabric, so this trope is used to disintegrate a few enemies.
* ''VideoGame/YoshisWoollyWorld'' being a SpiritualSuccessor to ''Kirby's Epic Yarn'', this trope is used to uncover secrets and modify the environment by pulling on loose threads of cloth with Yoshi's tongue.
* This is how you defeat a mummy in ''VideoGame/SimonTheSorcerer''.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/SimonsCat'': In "Christmas Yarn", the eponymous cat gets a thread of Simon's sweater stuck in its mouth as Simon walks out of the house, with the expected result.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/CharbyTheVampirate'' has a slight variation with a bead dress [[http://web.archive.org/web/20131229104058/http://www.charbythevampirate.com/comic/640/comic_archive on this strip]].
* Webcomic/KarateBears [[http://www.karatebears.com/2012/12/watch-me-unravel.html do this from time to time.]]
* According to ''Webcomic/TheBookOfBiff'', [[http://thebookofbiff.com/2012/10/03/1642-undone/ "String theory states the sweater can be destroyed by pulling a single thread as distance is increased in opposite directions."]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Dexter's Mom inflicts this to an alien overlord in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', scoring a DefeatByModesty.
* WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck is the victim of this in the Disney short ''On Ice'' (1935), losing his sweater as it doubles as a makeshift kitestring.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'', Eddy pulls a thread of Jimmy's shirt, unraveling the shirt and ''removing his outline''.
* Happens to Billy in ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'' episode "Dumb Luck", when some kids at school pull a loose clothing string on the back of his shirt, revealing his disgusting body. [[FanDisservice Trust us, it is not something you want to see.]]
* Happened to June's sweater once in ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam''.
* Happens at least once to WesternAnimation/KickButtowski.
* One ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' short has Sylvester hiding from Granny in her knitting basket as she is knitting. His fur gets caught in the yarn and it starts unraveling, so he knits it back in and ends up an argyle lower half.
* The mummy variant happens in ''WesternAnimation/TheMrMenShow'' episode "Science".
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePerilsOfPenelopePitstop'' episode "Carnival Calamity", Penelope slowed her descent by clutching a thread on the Hooded Claw's pants, revealing his GoofyPrintUnderwear.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'' episode "Runaway Runway", at one point Ferb's entire outfit is accidentally unraveled.
* This happened to WesternAnimation/{{Popeye}}'s swimsuit in the Al Brodax short "The Bathing Beasts".
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/PotatoesAndDragons'', a yeti is defeated in this way. His fur is unraveled until most of it is gone.
* On more than one occasion, Franchise/ScoobyDoo and friends would grab a trailing strip of mummy wrapping and give a tug, unravelling the mummy like a top.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' parody of ''Film/FaceOff'', where two characters' faces are sewn onto each other's heads. A loose stitch is mistaken for a loose collar thread and unraveled from one side of the neck to the other, causing the face to flop forward horrifically. [[spoiler:And then the same thing happens to the ''other'' character.]]
* Gargamel's robe gets unraveled in this fashion at least twice in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'', not to mention Sassette's overalls and Brainy's bandage wrapping.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarVsTheForcesOfEvil'': In episode "[[Recap/StarVsTheForcesOfEvilS1E22InterdimensionalFieldTrip Interdimensional Field Trip]]", a monster wholly made of threads is defeated this way. Miss Skullnick ties the tip of a thread to a large paper clip, and then fastens it to "The Universe's Most Immovable Post". As the school bus flees with the monster in hot pursuit, it unravels itself completely.
* ''WesternAnimation/TazMania'': In "Here Kitty, Kitty, Kitty", Kitty unravels a comforter of the bed and Taz has to knit it back together.
* In ''[[Disney/TheManyAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day]]'', Piglet is being carried away by the wind. Pooh grabs Piglet's scarf, but it unravels to a single string, and Piglet holds on to it as he soars like a kite.
* Happens in two ''WesternAnimation/WoodyWoodpecker'' shorts:
** In ''Buccaneer Woodpecker'', when he confronts Buzz Buzzard (who appears here as a pirate), Woody notices a loose thread on his coat and starts pulling on it, unravelling the coat ''and the hat'' (but oddly, leaving the buttons and everything else in place).
** In ''Wrestling Wrecks'', Woody pulls a thread from a wrestler's shorts into the piece an old lady is knitting next to him. In the next shot, when she finishes knitting the shorts back together, she gets scared and embarrassed at the same time, as the guy recovers his shorts and wears them again offscreen.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This was the basis for a now defunct dance that used to be performed in Tahiti, at least as far back as the 18th century and until a few decades ago. The female performer was wrapped in a long piece of tapa cloth and would then slowly sway and spin, slowly "unwrapping" herself, accompanied by drumming, slow at first, then faster and faster and going crescendo as the final reveal approached. The dancer was nude underneath in the old traditional form or topless in more recent performances.
* This is possible to do with the elastic waistbands of underwear. It's also really annoying.