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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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  • tyleradamski

    Keep some cool material items in it ;)

  • http://philosophos.tumblr.com Jonah A. Schwartz

    I would keep way too much stuff in it, like I always tend to do with bags. This means my sunglasses, whatever book I’m currently reading, pencil case, maybe a notebook, headphones, a banana, cards or Hi-Q pin solitaire game, and whatever scraps of paper or little things I’d found throughout the day.

  • Pad Art M.

    I would keep my cool in it!

  • DD Ranch

    I think your bag would be perfect for all the goodies i use during my spiritual ceremonies – sacred tobacco, paulo santo, a rattle, sage, little icons, etc. A lot of use it would get, yes!

  • Kilosh

    my e-cig case, flask, sunglasses, other paraphernalia…. aka my essentials!

  • Lacie Patterson

    Secrets and snacks…

  • whip

    I would keep my EDC stuff in it.

  • Clem Brown

    EDC.

  • PictureBook Tom

    Memories!

  • Kyle Orangio

    Everything.

  • NathanNJ

    Greenies, and a Digital Multimeter.
    I’m trying to teach my cat to be an electrician.

  • Zakari LeBlanc

    My essentials: tools, pen and paper, etcetera.

  • David Bathurst

    I would keep all my Monty Pythons / Married with Childrens DVD’s in it PROUDLY!

  • Nick Anderson

    I would probably put all the things I need to travel the world in it. Just me and the bag. Nothing else.

  • Evan C.

    Pens, pencils, a phone, and my pad.

  • Zak K.

    nail clipper, phone, books, laptop, tissues, water bottle, and a ton of money to buy another bag

  • Jamison Haase

    Everything I need for day to day… Laptop, passport, chargers, books, multitool, camera, etc.

  • froglicker

    I’d take a small notebook, a pen, an extra pair of boxers, and a box of wild berry pop tarts.

  • mnemenomorph

    Books, most likely.

  • Timothy

    My slr Mamiya, writing gear and Sony headphones :)

  • Mason Delpino

    I would carry music in it, because I play trumpet and piano!

  • http://bmitd67.blogspot.com Jai

    Dreams, man. Dreams… (of course, paper and pencil too just in case I forget my dreams)

  • Kristen Taucher

    My pencils, charcoals, and some nice paper!

  • Matt Terry

    I’d keep my life in it.

  • Ryan Bowden

    I’d keep my Nexus 7 tablet, pocket knife and other reading material.

  • Matthew Ryan Murphy

    ONLY the good stuff!

  • Marin

    I would put anything what keep me going my men! Rocking The World!

  • jordan

    Art supplies, I usual carry pencils, charcols etc with me at all times to be ready for inspiration when it finds me…love seeing hand made works of art being promoted

  • J

    Books. Something that nice deserves books

  • packerat

    Everything I should carry and don’t: weatherproof notebook and pen, Leatherman, wool socks, Springfield 1911 .45, 2 packs of cigs w/ brass Zippo, and a copy of John McPhee’s “Coming Into the Country.”

  • Austin Maxey

    The possibilities are endless.

  • Jack Herbert

    Wouldn’t want it to go to waste.

  • Manousos Fratzeskakis

    Moleskin, my pens and my phone.

  • Waruna Gomis

    Sketch book and pens, chewing gum, condoms, instant green tea pack, wafer biscuits, extra NATO watch straps, thin bottle of perfume, hand wipes etc.

  • Cameron

    Microsoft Surface and books.

  • Jason

    sketchbook, pencils, cigarettes, and chaw

  • Roberta S

    I would keep my Farm Journal, a hand-made book about living on my grandparents’ farm, in it. I started out life in a small city apartment. When I was 3, my family moved to my grandpa’s farm in NJ and my whole world changed. So much to see, do, and explore! It was here that I first learned about life’s possibilities and about all the magic to be found in the world. I think this bag would be an awesome place to house the source of some of my life’s best memories.

  • Jonathan Liles

    I would keep a variety of items that would change on a daily basis depending on the possibilities that await me. Some days I would have music and gym supplies, other days I would have food and water for a long hike (with a flask of whiskey for an occasional nip) and other days I would have snacks for my dogs during a long outing at the park, but I would always have it with me on my travels to carry all the trinkets I pick up. I know that all of my belongings with stay safe and secure in my stylish possibility bag…very cool piece!

  • thom bower

    Juggling balls & clubs, puppets and balloons, water bottle and journal – a day of possibilities clowning at nursing home and nursery school, bus stop and public park.

  • Drakebook Drake

    Tablet (music) and books! Looks dope.

  • bikeohio

    I’d load it with EDC items like pens, a notebook, and maybe a small tablet.

  • http://danmcq.com/ Dan McQuade

    I’d put my dreams inside.

  • Dustin Louder

    I’d keep my graffiti black book and art supplies in this bag.

  • Don G

    Bible, whatever book I’m reading, pens

  • Stuart Worthington

    I would definitely keep all my fly fishing gear so i can walk through the woods and into the rivers in style!

  • MoneyCashDolla

    I would keep a bunch of leather bags in it. I’m kidding. Going with “tobacco smoking supplies”

  • henry

    camera kit

  • Stephen

    My EDC & M8.

  • 7k7k99

    I would keep my springtime severe weather kit in it………..battery radio and extra batteries, pocket knife [at least two, preferrably three], led flashlight, custom whistle, space pen and field notes notebook, a few silver coins, cell phone, emergency contact list, a multi-tool, handkerchief, a comb for what hair I have left, sunglasses, folding magnifier [due to my age], nail clippers and fingernail file, tweezers, small prybar, small first aid kit with bandages, individually sealed packets of over the counter meds: Tylenol, Bayer Aspirin, Immodium, etc., a lighter [even though I don’t smoke], a spare front door key, and some hard candy or snacks.

  • Maggie

    Motorcycle tools as my old Honda decides she doesn’t want all her parts attached from time to time, chapstick, a good pair of sunglasses, and my carabiner clip stainless steel coffee mug (no leaks!).