This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 60, Fifteenth Series (1890). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 5, Interweave Press, 2001.
“These shoes, which are made exactly in the shape of a bag, are intended to draw over a kid boot for extra warmth when travelling. The Americans wear them over their boots for walking in frosty weather as the roughness of the wool upon the icy ground is a sure preventative against slipping. They are also useful as bedroom slippers...”
The original pattern calls for “Scotch fingering, or single Berlin wool, and a pair of No. 12 steel knitting needles (modern equivalent 2.25mm/US 2.) Ribbon for a bow or rosette on each overshoe is also suggested. The top of the finished knitting is folded double and stitched down, and the selvedges sewn together “to form the front of the shoe.” The lower part is then sewn closed to form a sole of the shoe.
I knit the overshoe on the suggested needle size using Knit Picks Palette in Pimento and Black but it came out very small, narrow and rectangular than the slightly more squat bag-shaped one in the illustration. Mine would fit a child’s shoe as it measures 6” long and 2”across, both flat. The pattern states that these overshoes would “fit quite closely on any sized foot by reason of the elasticity of the knitting” but larger needles and thicker wool would be needed to make an adult’s overshoe.
All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume Five, Interweave Press, 2001