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Making a Possibilities Bag With Waltzing Matilda + Your Chance To Win It

“Handmade” is a term that always intrigues us when we’re buying a new product. It speaks of care and quality, of a company or a person with a passion for what they’re doing. But how can you truly appreciate handmade unless you’ve seen the product getting crafted? We decided to head over to the Waltzing Matilda to watch a Possibilities Bag (more on this in a second) get made from start to finish.

The inspiration for the Possibilities Bag comes from old mountain men who used to carry a similar do-everything bag on a daily basis. One day the bag was used to carry food, other days it was where they tossed their dirty laundry, basically, the possibilities were endless, hence the name. Mike Balitsaris came up with the design for this particular rendition of the storied bag after seeing some old Swiss Army bread satchels that featured a simple leather strap that secured the pack. The name and the design came together to create this piece, and this is how it’s done.


It all starts with leather scraps that Mike acquired from an old factory in Massachusetts that used to supply Coach with their leather. In another life, this leather might have been on the arm of a woman walking down 5th Avenue. The first part of the process is measuring and cutting all the pieces involved. No big machinery, just a sharp X-Acto knife. You don’t get the clean lines you would with a machine, but what you do get is character and uniqueness. After measuring and cutting, we take a 3-prong leather punch and work around the edges of the bag smacking it down with a rawhide mallet to create the holes for stitching it together. There is a beauty and character in the slightly imprecise methods used, it’s not uniform and cold like the work of some large robotic factory.

After all the holes are set and pieces cut, we head out onto the roof to enjoy the weather while hand-stitching the bag together. Waltzing Matilda uses the waxed thread from Maine Thread Company a 50-year-old outfit in Lewiston, Maine. Mike personally visits all these places to meet the people making the items that will go into his goods. The stitching is probably the most time-consuming aspect of the process (probably why few places do it by hand), but it’s also the time when you shoot the shit and maybe have a beer while sitting on the roof slowly working away.

Next up is attaching the loops which are cast following a 2,000-year-old tradition by a blacksmith in Philadelphia and stitching on the leather cord which came from a ranch where it was part of some horse reins. Everything at Waltzing Matilda has a story. This adds something to each piece that no mass market item could ever contain.

After everything is attached, all the pieces are stitched together, and the bag is almost finished, we break out the blowtorch. There are no little sewn on tags on Waltzing Matilda’s products, there are only branded on logos. We sear the bag with the WM logo after heating the iron with the blowtorch. The bag gets finished off with a coat of leather oil and is ready to handle whatever you plan on tossing in it.

Now that you’ve seen how it was made, here’s your chance to win it:

Giveaway

This contest is closed. Congrats to John S. on winning the bag!



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  • Leslie-Anne

    I’d keep my compass and a map in the bag. Always ready for the next adventure!

  • Juan Rodrig

    I would keep only the essential such as my phone, wallet, keys, flask, pen, and a book.

  • Hugo Lavent

    Pipe kit!

  • Brad Copping

    I would keep the future & success in it. Not to mention Scotch ;)

  • nthnynvk

    I would keep my lunch in it. And whatever weird stuff I pick up during the day.

  • x Kai’

    My sonic screwdrivers.

  • ensit

    I would keep my Moleskine sketchbook, Retro51 rollerball, Rotring 800 0.5 pencil with blue underlay lead, Japanese pocket knife, phone, and some WP’s in it.

  • Connor Roberts

    I would keep a picture of Morgan Freeman in it so whenever I am feeling uneasy with life I can look at his picture and be reminded that life is great because he is here.

  • Moeskatchi

    Whatever shit needs toting that day. Cant limit a good hunk of leather to phones, dog biscuits or pens. Something like this will only get cooler the more you stuff it full and drag it to hell and back.

  • Andrew

    My Kindle, notebook, and pen.

  • rich

    sketchbook, prisma colors, flask of macallan, gerber knife, and a change of underwear.

  • Sakoku

    ipad

  • Devdhar Patel

    I would keep my sketch book and loads of pencils in it.

  • nickwags3

    Books, notes, and carving tools. Hobby I love to bring around with me.

  • Kyle Gostinger

    I’d keep my daily carry items with me everywhere I went. Tablet, books (mostly Hemingway), my camera, and a ton of notebooks and pens.

  • Mike

    I don’t know what I’d put in here, but I’d find something. I would definitely find something to put in here.

  • Cristhian ~

    I’ll use it to carry my camera and probably a book to read while I commute

  • Jennifer

    My 2DS! and a my camera.

  • Irwin Bautista

    tablet and various edc items.

  • HipsterMister79

    I would probably put my pipe, some tobacco and other smoking supplies in that bag.

  • Alejandro Urbina

    I would keep my iPad and my wife’s iPad mini.

  • gijoemc

    Probably some watches, especially my old 50s USSR watch and the 1920s watch I just got to that I’m go to try and get fully functional again. I also have an old higonokami (like in the shop) and some small heirlooms. So those things I like to show off and that have nice stories to them

  • Kerem Güneş

    What i would keep in it? I don’t mind until i get a job. But when i do, probably my sunglasses, my phone and of course my 1st paycheck. Or brand new Large Higonokami Knife.

  • Omar Franceschi

    I would keep my journals, knife, sunglasses, sketchbook, pens, my lighter, and a bag of jerky (always a must).

  • Ben Moore

    one of these would go perfect with my summer plans. I plan to hike around and photograph the SW area in New Mexico. Plus with my summer off from teaching, I plan to make the best of every warm sunny day that I have, and carrying things around in one of these bags for those excursions would be wonderful!

  • Danny Artis

    I would put my camping gear in it.

  • Eonis

    I would keep my Moleskine, my knife, my WWI lighter, my favorite pen and a polaroid of my lovely redhead.

  • Humberto Saraiva Marques

    I would keep my Vintage Bartender tools from 19 century , i will keep my sterling jigger, my sterling cocktail mixing spoon, my sterling cocktail shaker , my citrus squeezer

  • The O

    I made my own bag but i want to see the finishing of this.

  • The Patman

    Weapons and my enemies souls.

  • Courtney Crowe

    I’d take it with me on my vintage picks! The possibilities are endless.

  • Christian MEndoza

    i’d keep my flipphone, flask and my favorite book/novel