I love applique. I especially love floral applique so needless to say, I make A LOT of stems. I used to be intimidated by stems but Ive figured out a couple of ways to make them practically foolproof.
The first method uses metal bias bars. These are available online or at your local quilt shop. For this method cut bias strips approximately 1 wide for a 1/4-wide stem. Fold this strip wrong sides together and stitch 1/4 from the fold.
I like these stems because the stitching and extra fabric give them a slightly dimensional look.
Another method I like it using the Clover bias tape maker. For this method you cut the bias strips 1/2 wide ( for 1/4 bias stems). This strip can be inserted into the bias maker.
Clover now makes a bias tape maker that allows you to add fusible we to the back of your stems.
Our fiends at Fons and Porter have made this little video to demonstrate how to use it: