Demolition is the plan – I am armed with pliers and some tool that has a small flat edge for getting under staples. I start out confident that I am going to tackle this project in one week and get it done.
This confidence is then destroyed, because my first entire weekend on this project is spent simply prying out staples. Rows of staples 1/4 inch apart, covered by cardboard strips for shaping, attached with another row of staples right over the top.
I check the chair for any problems that I can't fix, and then starting underneath the chair, pull out the staples and remove pieces of fabric. Because the old fabric is the pattern for the new fabric, I have to be careful to get it off in one piece. As each piece comes off I label it with its location on the chair, and take pictures of every step so that I can put the new fabric on in reverse order. The pictures of the original chair are my only record of what I am trying to recreate, so I take many, many pictures.
Finally, many hours of work later, I have this fantastic looking product:
What have I done? I just spent a whole weekend turning a worn but functional chair into a lint-emitting fluffball of doom, and the only way to fix it is to keep going.
P.S. My main reference through this project is a tutorial by Molly at Creative Maven. She wrote a very helpful two-post series with more detailed directions and more pictures. Somehow I failed to be properly intimidated by her warnings, so let me emphasize right away that this project is taking a completely ridiculous quantity of time, and that you should not even think about doing it without an electric staple gun.